Google Play Store image used for representation.
Google said that the new safety section for the Play Store will be added to “help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and the additional details that impact privacy and security.”
Apple last year launched its App Privacy labels for app listings on the Apple App Store. The privacy labels on the app store are meant to tell users the data an app will collect before they make a decision to install the app. Now, Apple’s rival Google is planning to follow the its footsteps and introduce a new Safety section that will show details about what data apps on the Google Play Store collect, as well as other information about their privacy and security practices. It will require developers to provide information on how their apps are using data. The company announced the change in a new blog post, where it said that a new ‘Safety Section’ for the Play Store will be added to “help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and the additional details that impact privacy and security.”
The new safety section will detail what user data an app will have access to. The updated Play Store listings will also outline whether apps employ security practices like data encryption, if Google’s families policy is followed, if the data sharing details have been verified by an independent third party, and if the app allows users to request data detection. Similar to Apple App Store’s privacy labels, for Google Play’s new safety section will require developers to self-report information, and Google will also introduce a policy that will require developers to provide accurate details. If a developers violates this policy, Google will require the developer to fix it and there could be consequences for the developer. Google said its first-party apps will also be required to provide this information.
Google plans to share the requirements and resources with developers this summer. It said that users will start seeing the safety section in the first quarter of 2022 and new apps and app updates will be required to include this information from the second quarter of 2022. Apps that are not able to update this information will see their updates being blocked.