Google Play rolling out app data collection labels
Users can find out what data is collected, if it is shared and the developer's security policies.
Google Play is rolling out a new safety section aimed at giving users more detail about what data apps collect and how it’s used.
What it does. It will show what data each developer is collecting, if they share it, and their security practices (such as whether they encrypt the data while in transit). It will also show whether a developer follows Google Play’s Families Policy and if their security practices have received third-party validation.
What developers need to know. All the information requirements and penalties are on this support page. Providing incorrect information about data collection or failing to fill out this section can result in updates being blocked or the app’s removal from the Play Store. Even apps that don’t collect data must complete the form.
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Differences from Apple. When it comes to labels, Apple’s are more about what data is being collected, including data used for tracking purposes, and letting the user know what’s linked to them. Google’s labels focus on whether the data that’s collected is being handled responsibly. They also let developers give context on how the data is being used – for app functionality, personalization, etc. It also shows if data collection is required or optional.
On a larger scale, the biggest difference is that Apple lets users opt out of tracking, Google doesn’t. While Google has announced a two-year plan that is supposed to culminate in an end to tracking.
The section is being rolled out to users over the coming weeks, and app developers have until July 20th to add the information to their listings — so it may not immediately appear for everyone.
Why we care. Anything that adds to consumers’ data privacy is a plus. It will also be interesting to see how many users actually visit these pages. Do they really want the information, or do they just want to know it exists?
Dig deeper: With Apple privacy protections hurting revenue, some companies are finding ways around it
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