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Google to Bring Safety Section to Give Users Control on How Apps Use Data

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After Apple gave users more control over their data sharing with app developers, Google has now pre-announced an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares.

Starting Q2 2022, new app submissions and app updates will ask developers to include the information like what sort of data apps collect, how it’s stored and how it’s used.

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Google will ask developers to share what type of data is collected and stored like users’ precise location, contacts, personal information (name, email address), photos and videos, audio files, and storage files.

The company will also ask developers how the data is used, like app functionality and personalisation.

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“Similar to app details like screenshots and descriptions, developers are responsible for the information disclosed in their section. Google Play will introduce a policy that requires developers to provide accurate information,” Suzanne Frey, VP, Product, Android Security and Privacy, said in a statement on Thursday.

“If we find that a developer has misrepresented the data they’ve provided and is in violation of the policy, we will require the developer to fix it. Apps that don’t become compliant will be subject to policy enforcement,” she informed.

Google said that it will introduced new elements to highlight whether the app has security practices like data encryption, follows ‘Families’ policy, if the app’s safety section is verified by an independent third-party provider and if the app enables users to request data deletion, if they decide to uninstall.

“All apps on Google Play – including Google’s own apps – will be required to share this information and provide a privacy policy,” the company said.

“In the future, we’ll continue providing new ways to simplify control for users and automate more work for developers,” it added.

On new privacy controls in iOS 14.5, Apple has said that the App Tracking Transparency requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or sharing their data with data brokers.

Apps can prompt users for permission, and in Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track so they can make changes to their choice at any time.

Over 10,000 iOS apps have already adopted permission prompts to conform with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, according to third-party data.

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