Google Play Store’s Safety section begins rolling out to users, summarizing how apps use your data

Google Play Store’s Safety section begins rolling out to users, summarizing how apps use your data

Nearly a year ago, Google announced a new Safety section with the intent of improving transparency in how apps collect and process data, following in the footsteps of Apple and the Privacy Labels on the App Store. This new Safety section essentially provides an overview of what data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and any other additional details that would impact privacy and security. Now Google is beginning to roll the feature out for everyone over the coming weeks, and developers have until June 20th, 2022, to submit their data safety section.

Altogether, the Safety section will highlight the following:

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  • Whether the developer is collecting data and for what purpose.
  • Whether the developer is sharing data with third parties.
  • The app’s security practices, like encryption of data in transit and whether users can ask for data to be deleted.
  • Whether a qualifying app has committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy to better protect children in the Play Store.
  • Whether the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard (more specifically, the MASVS).

Similar to app details such as screenshots and descriptions, developers are responsible for the information disclosed in their app’s Safety section and its accuracy. Google Play policies mandate accurate information within this section, and data misrepresentation by the developer will be treated as a Google Play policy violation, meaning that an app may be taken down from the Google Play Store if it doesn’t properly or accurately disclose the data it collects and what it does with it. Google’s apps are also not exempt from this policy change.

Users will also be able to see what data collection is optional and which is mandatory. This is overall a good step forward for user privacy and ensures that it’s easier than ever to tell what apps are doing with your data when you install them on your phone.

App developers can fill out the Data safety form by visiting the App content section in the Google Play Console. Google says even apps that don’t collect any user data must submit the form. In addition, developers are also required to add a privacy policy.

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

I'm the senior technical editor at XDA-Developers. I have a BSc in Computer Science from University College Dublin, and I'm a lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter-Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.

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