Google Play will now show what data apps collect, how they use it

Google has announced privacy labels for its own apps, with the aim of providing Google Play users with more information about the data that the apps they download are collecting. Initially announced in May 2021, Google’s “Data safety” section will require developers to provide information about how their apps collect, share, and secure user data, months after Apple’s App Store introduced privacy labels on its own app marketplace.

The search engine giant has made Data Safety active on its store listings, both in a browser and in the Android store app, but it still requires developers to submit information for the listings and all developers will be required to complete this section for their apps by July 20.

“We heard from users and app developers that displaying the data an app collects, without additional context, is not enough,” Google explained. “That’s why we designed the Data safety section to allow developers to clearly mark what data is being collected and for what purpose it’s being used.”

Here are the information developers can show in the Data safety section:

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).

Apple Mail Privacy Protection

Meanwhile, Apple also expanded its privacy-focused approach to another level with new protections in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, which help users better control and manage access to their data.

In the Mail app, the new ‘Mail Privacy Protection’ stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user.

The feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location, the company said during its flagship WWDC21 developer conference.

“Privacy has been central to our work at Apple from the very beginning,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

Faqs

About the privacy information section On each app’s product page, you can learn about some of the data types the app may collect, and whether that data is linked to you or used to track you.09-Feb-2022

Data collected for app functionality: Payment information, location, contact information (including physical address, email, name and phone number), contacts, user content (including photos or videos, audio data, customer support details), search history, browsing data, user identifiers (user ID and device ID), usage 05-Apr-2021

The simple answer is yes: Google collects data about how you use its devices, apps, and services. This ranges from your browsing behavior, Gmail and YouTube activity, location history, Google searches, online purchases, and more.18-Dec-2020

Android Apps Spy On Other Apps The first method sends a request for application information, often used for debugging. The second method sends out a call for package information; this can call up a list of apps installed on the device and other types of meta-data, which can then be used to infer things about the user.27-Mar-2020

Is Google really spying on me? The simple answer is yes: Google collects data about how you use its devices, apps, and services. This ranges from your browsing behavior, Gmail and YouTube activity, location history, Google searches, online purchases, and more.18-Dec-2020

Conclusion

Apple has introduced privacy labels on its app marketplace which required developers to provide information about how their apps collect, share, and secure user data. Google announced a similar label requiring developers to provide information about what data they are collecting, for what purpose, and security practices on their app store listing.