Google announced that the Play Store was getting a “Data safety” section last May, and it’s now beginning to roll out after a brief delay. The new section will be fully available over the coming weeks, and full developer adoption is set for July.
Android apps in the Play Store have to list (“Collected data”) what data is being stored and for what purpose. In turn, users can “see whether the app needs this data to function or if this data collection is optional.”
Developers also have to identify (“Data shared”) whether that information is being communicated with third-parties, as well as the security/handling practices (e.g. in-transit data encryption) of their applications, and whether end users can easily ask for their data to be deleted.
Other information that can appear in the section includes:
- 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).
Data types cover: Location (approximate or precise), Personal info (name, email, address, phone number, etc.), Financial info (purchase history, credit score, etc.), Health and fitness, Messages (emails, SMS/MMS), Phones and videos, Audio files, Files and docs, Calendar, Contacts, App activity (interactions, in-app search history, installed apps), Web browsing, App info and performance (crash logs, diagnostics), and Device or other IDs.
Available purposes include: App functionality; Analytics; Developer communications; Advertising or marketing; Fraud prevention, security, and compliance; Personalization; and Account management.
The Data safety section within Play Store app listings is beginning to roll out today and will fully appear over the coming weeks. Developers have until July 20, 2022 to enter this information in the Play Console. As such, not all applications will necessarily have this information when the new page rolls out to your device.
Until July 20, 2022, you can temporarily proceed to publish app updates regardless of whether we find issues with the information you’ve disclosed. If there are no issues, your app will be approved and you won’t need to do anything. If there are issues, you will need to revert your Data safety form’s status to “Draft” in Play Console to publish your app update. We will also send the developer account owner an email, an Inbox message in Play Console, and show this information on the Policy status (Policy > Policy status) page.
After July 20, 2022, all apps will be required to have completed an accurate Data safety form that discloses their data collection and sharing practices (including apps that do not collect any user data).
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