Privacy labels now visible in Google Play Store

Android users who visit the Google Play Store will see privacy labels with applications from this week. In this way, the internet company wants to give users more clarity about how apps collect, share and secure data. From July 20, app developers are required to provide information for the privacy labels.

Suzanne Frey, vice president of Product, Android Security and Privacy at Google, writes in a blog.

This is what Google’s privacy labels do for you

This week, Google introduced the Data Safety Section. There, developers must make clear what information their apps collect, share and store securely. For example, if an app needs your location data to determine the fastest route, or to serve you the latest news from your hometown, developers should mention this in the new privacy section. Of course, this also applies to other data, such as photos, videos and personal data.

Presenting pure information about what data an app developer collects, without any context, was according to most users unheard of. They want to know for what purposes they need this data. They also want clarification on how user data is secured. The privacy labels are designed in such a way that developers can easily clarify these topics. Finally, users see which data is mandatory and optional to function properly.

Privacy labels give users ‘more insight and control’

Google says it has worked hard to give users more control over permissions functions for installed apps. As an example, the tech company cites location data. If an app asks for this, you can easily indicate whether the app is allowed to consult this information once, if the app is active, or if it is always allowed. For sensitive permissions such as accessing your camera, microphone or gallery, Android users can access the Privacy Dashboard in the settings menu.

“Apps should help users explore the world, connect with loved ones, get work done, learn something new, and more, without compromising user safety,” said Suzanne Frey. The privacy labels give users “the overview and control they need to enjoy their apps,” she said.

The Data Safety Section or privacy labels have been visible in the Play Store since Tuesday. If you come across an application that hasn’t included these labels yet, you may be right. Google gives developers until July 20 to fix the privacy labels for their apps. As soon as they update their app or change the way they handle their data, a notification will appear in the privacy labels.

Apple also works with privacy labels

A year ago, Google promised to introduce privacy labels in the Play Store. The search giant promised, “a big change” for users and developers. The privacy labels are not without obligation. If Google notices that app developers are cutting corners, or providing incomplete or incorrect information, the search giant will intervene by adjusting the information provided itself. There may also be sanctions, such as removing the app from the Play Store.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) was pleased with Google’s intention to add privacy labels to the Play Store. “It’s good that Google is now taking this step. Information about what data the app uses is of great importance to consumers. If this information is available, they can better control their own privacy,” said ACM board member Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh.

Apple was one step ahead of Google. Since December 2020, privacy labels are mandatory in the App Store. These work slightly differently than Google’s. Apple uses symbols to show at a glance what data an app collects. Users can then more easily decide whether or not they want to install an app.

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