Data privacy appears to be a key focus area for Google recently. The company is expected to roll out Chrome 101 today which features its first implementations of privacy-preserving ad profiling mechanism, and now, it has announced a new "data safety" section for apps in the Play Store.
As the name suggests, data safety is a section where developers will be required to provide more context about the data they collect through their app. This includes information about the following topics:
- Is data being collected and if so, for what purpose?
- Is the data being shared with third parties?
- What are the app's security practices around data, such as encryption policies?
- Has the app's security practices been validated against global security standards?
- Has a qualified app committed to following Google Play's Family Policy to protect children?
Google believes that this level of transparency will give users the confidence to download apps from the Play Store, knowing fully well how their data will be used. The company says that this section will be available today but developers will be asked to fill in the details by July 20.
There are interesting implications with this approach, though. It's unclear how Google will validate that the information provided by each developer and each app is accurate, considering that there are millions of apps in the Play Store. Furthermore, Google has not really talked about what will happen to apps which have not been updated with data safety information by July 20? Will they be removed or labeled as unsafe? We will likely find out more on this front in the coming weeks.