Technology companies are currently aggressively protecting user data, one of which is a new feature in the Play Store that can better manage personal data. It also provides flexibility for users to have more control over their personal data on Android. A feature that Google introduced in a new section of the Play Store called “Data safety”. Require app developers to write down additional details about how their apps collect, share, and secure user information. This way, users will know what data the app will collect even before downloading it, so users can determine if they are comfortable with installing it. As Google states on the playstore, Data security allows “developers to clearly mark what data is collected and for what purposes it is used.”
Users can even see if an app requires its information to function properly or if data collection is optional. App developers have until next July 20 to add information to their listings, so the section may not appear for everyone immediately. The initiative was first announced last year. According to Google, the section is an attempt to provide users with more information and context. It will list the data each developer collects, if they share it, and their security practices (such as whether they encrypt data in transit). There will also be information about whether the developer is following the Google Play Family Policy as well as whether their security practices have received third-party validation. According to Google’s support page, misrepresenting the app’s data collection practices or failing to complete this section could mean that app updates are blocked, and may be removed from the Play Store.
The newfound transparency in the Play Store follows the launch of a similar feature on Apple’s App Store in late 2020. But Google’s support page notes that its security section isn’t necessarily on par with Apple’s, so developers can’t expect to provide the same information.
“The Taxonomy and framework of the Data security section of Google Play may differ materially from that used in other app stores,” the page reads.
This initiative is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to ensure that Play Store apps respect user privacy. Earlier this month it announced plans to limit the availability of outdated apps on the Play Store in an effort to ensure that those available for download use Android’s latest privacy and security features.