Google outlines types of data Android Apps on Play Store collect: Mandatory ‘Nutrition Labels’ will appear in App Privacy & Security section

Android Apps
Nutrition Labels for Android Apps are here via App Privacy & Security section. Pic credit: Muhammad Sadeeq/Pixabay

A new ‘Safety Section’ will start appearing inside app listings on Android Play Store. The ‘App Privacy & Security’ feature is akin to Apple Inc.’s ‘Nutrition Labels’, and will include all the types of data that apps collect from users.

Google recently confirmed the timeline for compiling information and collating the same for the “App Privacy & Security” section for apps in the Play Store. The search giant has outlined the different types of data that apps can and do collect from users.

Android apps on Google Play Store must have a correctly filled-out ‘App Privacy & Security’ section before April 2022:

Android app listings on the Google Play Store will have a new ‘App Privacy & Security’ section. It will offer details about the types of data the app collects, stores, processes, and shares with third parties.

The new section is mandatory, and so is a ‘Privacy Policy’. Essentially, Google is offering ‘Nutrition Labels’ for apps and expects users to be aware of the data they are willing to share with the developers if they wish to use the apps.

Developers can also win confidence by confirming if their apps use data encryption, follow Google’s Families policies, or whether they have been through independent audits for global security standards.

Google will soon start sending out questionnaires to developers. These forms will contain the multiple types and categories of data that the apps can collect. The forms also ask developers to confirm which types of data it shares with third parties.

General Google Play Store users will start seeing an app’s “App Privacy & Security” section early next year. The section would obviously include all of the data that the app developer provided.

Google outlines the different types of data that apps on the Play Store can collect:

Google Help Center has reportedly created a list of features, accessed data types, and purposes for using the data. Developers will have to disclose the information, which will become part of the “App Privacy & Security” section.

Some of the questions that developers must answer about their app’s features and security practices include:

  • Encryption in transit: Is data collected or shared by your app encrypted in transit? You’ll have the opportunity to disclose this on your label.
  • Deletion mechanism: Do you provide a way for users to request deletion of their data? You’ll have the opportunity to disclose this on your label.
  • Families policy: Do your app’s data collection practices comply with Google Play’s Families Policy?
  • Independent security review: Are you interested in taking your app through an external security review based on a global standard? You’ll have the opportunity to have this displayed on your label.
  • How it’s collected: Is data collection optional or required to use the app?

Some of the data types that app developers must disclose their apps collect or share:

  • Location data like user approximate or precise location
  • Personal information like user name, phone number, and email address
  • Financial info like user credit card number and bank account number
  • Health and fitness information
  • Photos or videos
  • Audio files like sound recordings and music files
  • Storage like files and docs
  • Emails or texts
  • Calendar information
  • Contact information
  • Installed apps on the user device
  • Actions in apps like page views
  • App performance like crash logs and performance diagnostics
  • Identifiers like device id

Developers will also need to disclose the purposes behind collecting the aforementioned data:

  • App functionality required for the app to work;
  • Developer communications like reminders, notifications, promotions, and similar communications;
  • Analytics about how users use the app and how it performs;
  • Fraud prevention and security; or
  • Personalization of things like content and recommendations.

Google has indicated that this is just a preliminary list. The search giant will provide a complete list of intents, purposes, and other parameters in the near future.

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