Starting 2022, Google Play Android apps have to reveal data collecting and sharing information

All Android applications that are available on Google Play will soon have to provide information on its data collecting, sharing and other privacy information.

Google VP Suzanne Frey announced the plan today on the Android Developers blog of the company.

Today, we’re pre-announcing an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security.

Google follows Apple's lead, as Apple introduced the requirement for developers already on the company's App store.

All applications on Google Play will have to provide the information, including Google's own apps hosted on Google Play. Applications have to reveal the type of data that is collected, e.g. personal information, photos & videos, audio files, storage files, location information or contacts, and how it is used, e.g. for personalization or functionality.

Google plans to introduce new elements to highlight additional important information. The company listed the following examples in the blog post:

  • Whether an app has security practices, e.g. data encryption.
  • Whether an app follows Families policy.
  • Whether the requested data is needed or if users have choice in sharing it.
  • Whether the safety section is verified by a third-party.
  • Whether the app supports requests for data deletion on uninstall.

Developers are responsible for the information that they disclose. Store policies will require developers to provide "accurate information" and misrepresentation may result in request to fix the information or policy enforcement.

google play timeline

As far as the timeline is concerned, Google Play users will start seeing the new section in the first quarter of 2022. From the second quarter of 2022 on, all new and updated applications need to declare the information.

The policy will become available in the third quarter of 2021 and developers may start declaring the information in Google Play Console from the fourth quarter of 2021 onward. Google notes that the dates may change

Closing Words

Next year, around this time, Google Play applications will disclose the data that they collect and share, plus related information. The information may help Android users when it comes to vetting applications before installation, but it depends on how detailed and accurate it is.

Now You: will the new section change user behavior when it comes to the selection of apps in the store?

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Starting 2022, Google Play Android apps have to reveal data collecting and sharing information
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Starting 2022, Google Play Android apps have to reveal data collecting and sharing information
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All Android applications that are available on Google Play will soon have to provide information on its data collecting, sharing and other privacy information.
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Comments

  1. ShintoPlasm said on May 6, 2021 at 8:02 pm
    Reply

    What about Google’s own apps? Hahahahahaha.

    1. Anonymous said on May 8, 2021 at 4:06 pm
      Reply

      They will do, they do it already anyway. Only people from Mars think that Google is hiding it, they are actually proud they are doing it because they say it returns better services to people and interesting ads.

      1. WhyNotBeEvil said on May 8, 2021 at 11:52 pm
        Reply

        What Anonymous says is sadly true, and even sadder is that it hardly disgusts any of their users enough to boycott them and their spyware products.

  2. Yuliya said on May 6, 2021 at 8:07 pm
    Reply

    This puts leanplum out of business, lmao.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 6, 2021 at 11:09 pm
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      And Adjust, too.

  3. Google is a joke said on May 7, 2021 at 3:46 am
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    So it only took them, what 10 years? And they only did it because Apple took the lead on this and is destroying them in lucrative markets. Way to be a leader, Google. Not.

    And what is going to make all they shady developers suddenly tell the truth? Almost all apps on Google’s Play store are closed-source, so are we now just supposed to trust all these shady operators that they will disclose exactly what they are doing?

    The biggest problem with Android is that Google has made the permissions system into a joke. Google even stopped notifying users when their installed apps entitle themselves to more permissions, as long as you already approved a single permission within the same incredibly broad category.

    Personally, I don’t take Android devices seriously, and I never put any private data onto one. The only semi-private data I have on Android is my phone book, and I use an open-source app that encrypts that data and doesn’t use Android’s flawed built-in contacts system. That app is available on F-Droid, which is the only open source app store with 100% open source apps.

    1. Yuliya said on May 7, 2021 at 10:31 am
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      Developers who refuse to disclose it will not have their applications approved. There is a lenghty proccess of approval on Play Store. And as my comment below, you can already decline to share your advertising ID, globally. I’d go as far as saying that any application which contains ads is not worth your time, but you decide this for yourself.

      If you dig thoroughly through both permissions and special access menu, you can easily make applications behave the way you want. You can force applications to never run in background (I think this might be only available on Samsung phones), give them no access to modify system settings, wlan control, draw over, you name it. I think it is user fault for an application hijacking their device.

      1. Anonymous said on May 7, 2021 at 2:21 pm
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        User fault for an application hijacking their device – that’s a seriously good joke.

      2. Google is a joke said on May 7, 2021 at 10:08 pm
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        @Yulia said “There is a lenghty proccess of approval on Play Store.”

        It’s a joke of process that is ineffective and riddled with problems.

        Almost every day, I find plenty of new scam apps on Google’s Play store. When you read the reviews for these apps, everyone is saying the apps are scams (except for the fake reviews that the scammers pay for… and those fake reviews are so obvious). But the scam apps get on Google’s Play store despite your false claim and remain on Google’s Play store. Google clearly does not have an effective review process, nor do they promptly remove known scam apps.

      3. YuliyaLicks said on May 9, 2021 at 12:02 am
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        Yuliya there are any number of apps that refuse to run if all required permissions aren’t provided, and Google does nothing about this arm twisting behavior. Don’t pretend you don’t know this.

        > I think it is user fault for an application hijacking their device.

        So it’s the fault of users now? Wow, that’s got to be one of the most servile and grovelling things I’ve ever read. What does it take I wonder to become so very brainwashed?

    2. GScam said on May 9, 2021 at 12:10 am
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      @Google is a joke

      No lover of Google here, but some points about your comments:

      > And what is going to make all they shady developers suddenly tell the truth? Almost all apps on Google’s Play store are closed-source, so are we now just supposed to trust all these shady operators that they will disclose exactly what they are doing?

      How is it any different from the apps by shady devs on iOS?

      > Personally, I don’t take Android devices seriously, and I never put any private data onto one. The only semi-private data I have on Android is my phone book, and I use an open-source app that encrypts that data and doesn’t use Android’s flawed built-in contacts system.

      OK, this was funny. Just because your Contacts app stores the data encrypted you actually think the very OS itself (and thus Google) cannot know what you’ve stored in it? How would you see and use the data without it being decrypted first? Ever thought about that?

  4. Anonymous said on May 7, 2021 at 6:01 am
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    It might change users’ behavior, but until Android users are able to decline tracking like in iOS 14.5, I personally don’t think it’s that much of a change.

    In my opinion, as long as Android users can’t decline applications’ tracking with a simple click, Google’s intention can be described as a half step into the right direction.

    1. Yuliya said on May 7, 2021 at 10:19 am
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      >but until Android users are able to decline tracking like in iOS 14.5
      You don’t have to do it on a per-application basis on Android. There is a global toggle, and it has been there for.. at least 7 years, in Lollipop I know it was there.
      https://i.imgur.com/msmMZDE.png
      You can choose not to share it with advertisers (not the default option) and to even reset it at your will.

      1. Yash said on May 7, 2021 at 12:13 pm
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        @Yuliya
        I don’t want create controversary here but that option is not reliable(its half-baked) as it clearly says it instructs apps not force them, and even with that option turned on, I have seen personalised ads on few apps I use outside of F-Droid. If you want to test it yourself, use California location in VPN and *some* apps would individually ask for consent regardless of that option(if you clear their app data and start them again) amd yes I can share screenshots but it can be done by anyone and results would be same.
        However as mentioned by you, reset is an option and that option is much better, however it has to be done multiple times a week.

      2. Yuliya said on May 7, 2021 at 2:13 pm
        Reply

        Was it indeed tracking or just a contextual ad? An application asking the permission to check if they can use the advertising ID is not the same as actually being able to use it. It most likely means the user has consented to allow the application to querry that ID, but ultimately the OS will only give it if you have that option disabled in the first place – it acts like a master switch, if you want.

        I’ve never seen targeted ads beyond IP-based geolocation. Even the built-in YouTube application only shows me contextual ads, based on the video I’m on right now. It will never show me an ad based on a video I’ve watched two minutes, hours or days ago. So that works pretty well on my end.

      3. Yash said on May 7, 2021 at 5:32 pm
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        For the comment you wrote above –
        I don’t want to name that app as clearly every person needs a coffee so same goes for developers, but by consent – I meant the app ask to show personalised ads if I change my IP address to California(California Laws) and the option doesn’t popup on other IP addresses. The reason is the Google Ads system.

        @Anonymous 6:01 a.m. is referring to the recent Apple change which is different. With the latest policy change done by Apple, if an app(e.g. Facebook) wants to personalise your experience “based on what you do on other apps”, then it would need to ask for it.
        This article is saying Developers need to disclose the data they need or collect, the same thing which is already present in iPhones, enabled last year under app store PRIVACY LABELS.
        The option you highlighted on screenshot only intruct apps to not use advertising ID, in other words its the same as Do Not Track, in other words pointless. The apps can still personalize ads and even the reset option is half baked, because apps get notified when advertising ID resets. The permission for this behaviour is titled as ADVERTISING ID NOTIFICATION and would be visible in Google Play Store app info and works in every smartphone – Samsung or not. And that’s why although resetting advertising ID is a way to prevent personalization, its not perfect because apps get notified when ID resets.
        This all means Google is way behind Apple(not that Apple’s privacy settings are perfect but two years ahead of Google).

        And all this means ads in other apps would remain same regardless of that opt out option(Opt out is a joke anyways), and ads in Youtube depends on Google account ads personalization setting.

      4. 5eyes said on May 7, 2021 at 3:27 pm
        Reply

        @Yuliya said on May 7, 2021 at 10:19 am

        That page in your picture (https://i.imgur.com/msmMZDE.png) disappears, as does the “Google” option, when you disable Google Play Service in couple of generations old Android, and also saves a lot of battery, I don’t know what the heck it is doing causing the battery to discharge so fast with it ON but it must be busy phoning home all the time.

      5. GScam said on May 9, 2021 at 12:17 am
        Reply

        Global toggle? Lol, height of stupidity. Better to trust a ravenous lion not to bite your head off than Google to do anything that will inhibit its ability to spy and track you and steal your data.

  5. Anonymous said on May 7, 2021 at 9:33 am
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    Irrespective of what Google claims they do not check apps before they go on the PlayStore.

    Some developers, maybe most, will at best be disingenuous with the information they give and others will just omit/lie about the data they collect.

    Google will only take action on apps that are reported to be breaking the rules, and then only when the app(s) are WIDELY reported by news sites etc

    All Android permission, including Internet access, need to be DENIED by default.
    The announced changes are still streets behind what IOS is doing.

  6. Anonymous said on May 7, 2021 at 9:35 am
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    “Google is a joke” – what is the contacts app called please? I would like to check it out.

    1. Google is a joke said on May 7, 2021 at 10:11 pm
      Reply

      @Anonymous

      The open-source contacts app that stores your contact information outside of Android’s contact system is called OpenContacts. The app is available via F-Droid here:

      https://f-droid.org/packages/opencontacts.open.com.opencontacts/

      The source code is available here:

      https://gitlab.com/sultanahamer/OpenContacts/tree/HEAD

  7. Anonymoux said on May 7, 2021 at 12:57 pm
    Reply

    What if they lied? I really hate it… Those liar deserve in jail, or worse, something worse.

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