Android warning as Google Play Store feature reveals apps ‘invade your privacy’

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GOOGLE is giving users access to details about their own technology privacy with a new folder called the Data safety section.

The new data collection disclosure policy is Google’s latest effort to force app developers to be transparent with Android owners.

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The Google Play store has over 2.5million apps available for download

“The Data safety section on Google Play is a simple way for you to help people understand what user data your app collects or shares, as well as showcase your app’s key privacy and security practices,” Google’s support page writes.

The Data safety section was deployed today after a delay.

It will give users the opportunity to better understand what an app will log, and why.

The new policy is Google’s counter to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency measure adopted in 2021.

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On the business-facing side, Google has provided a portal for app developers to submit information about their data collection policies.

Developers can tell Google whether they sell that data to third party brokers, how the data is managed once its collected and how far the company has gone to protect it – and their answers are on largely the honor system.

The policy also includes an explicit mention of whether an app has agreed to adhere to Google Play’s Family Policy which was designed to prevent harmful ads from reaching children.

“All developers that have an app published on Google Play must complete the Data safety form, including apps on internal, closed, open, or production testing tracks,” Google’s forum wrote.

The new policy still puts loads of responsibility on the user.

Google isn’t preventing apps from collecting data but informing consumers which apps are, and allowing users to reconsider whether they want to use a given app.

That’s giving a lot of credit to the average user’s interest or knowledge of personal cybersecurity.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai made the argument before a Congressional committee that Android users have the agency and knowledge to manage their data privacy – which earned the eye-rolling of the technology publication TechCrunch.

App designers will have 12 weeks to submit their information and policies.

Trading in data is a modern problem requiring a solution offered by tech companies and governments.

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