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Android App Developers Required by Google to Share More Info on Data Handling

Google this week announced that it is introducing a new policy for the Google Play app store, requiring all developers to provide information on their data collection practices.

Google this week announced that it is introducing a new policy for the Google Play app store, requiring all developers to provide information on their data collection practices.

Planned as a safety section in Google Play, the change is expected to “help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security.”

Google is already asking developers to say whether their application is collecting user data, but the new requirement will have them provide further information on the matter, for increased transparency.

This includes specific details on the data that is collected, such as personal details (names, emails, and addresses), location, contacts, media files, and other files; information on how that data is stored; and details on how the data is used (such as app functionality and personalization).

“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,” the Internet giant explains.

The company also notes that, should a developer be in violation of the policy, they will be required to address the issue.

To provide users with increased transparency, Google will also share information such as whether an app has security practices, if it follows the Families policy, if the data is required for the app to function, whether an independent third-party has verified the app’s safety section, and if users can require data deletion when uninstalling an app.

The new policy will apply to all applications available on Google Play, including those that come from Google themselves.

Google says developers will be provided with further information on the new policy requirements and resources over the summer, as well as with guidance on app privacy policies. All app submissions and updates will be required to adhere to the new policy starting Q2 2022.

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Related: Researcher Demonstrates Android App Hacking via Intents

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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