Google is working on Apple's privacy labels alternative for Play Store


Google strives to reduce the large gap that increases every year between its Android OS and Apple's iOS operating system in terms of user privacy and his right to choose, and after Apple made the feature of privacy labels in the App Store for iPhone and iPad users with the iOS 14.5 update earlier this year, Google announced its intention to develop a similar feature for the Play Store last May. Today, in an article on the Android Developers Blog, Google provided more explanations about its new feature, What would it look like (although these designs are not final), and when it will be available to the public.

The new feature is called “Security Section” and, as its name suggests, it is a new section on the application page on the Google Play Store that provides the user with what data is being collected about him and why.
This new section on the app's store listing page will contain a summary in which the developer explains what type of data his app collects or shares and highlights security details, such as whether his application contains security practices such as data encryption; if it follows Google's Family Policy, and if the app has been independently validated against global security standards. Users can click Summary to see details such as the type of data collected and shared about them, such as location, financial information, contacts, and personal information, how this data is used (such as application functionality, personalization...), and is this data collection optional or required to use the application.

This new feature will contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust between developers and users, as it will allow developers to transparently provide information about the things that their applications collect, and will enable users to install applications with peace of mind without fear of the unknown fate of their data, and this feature will also put an end to some Rumors that arise from time to time accusing a particular application of spying or collecting users' data excessively.

Google also announced that starting today, all developers must submit a privacy policy for their apps, unlike what was previously the case, where only apps that collected personal and sensitive user data should share a privacy policy, and then developers are responsible to provide accurate and complete information in the Security section, including data used by third-party libraries or application SDKs, and this applies to all applications published on Google Play, including Google's own applications. These changes, according to Google, are intended to provide more user transparency and to help people make informed choices about how their data is collected, protected, and used.

Google plans to make the new security section for apps in Google Play available to users sometime in the first quarter of 2022, and developers can submit information in the Google Play Console for review starting in October, and when an app’s information is not approved by the time we launch the safety section in Google Play to the public in Q1, 2022, then it will display “No information available.”
Developers will have time until April 2022 to obtain approval from Google about the information collected by their apps that will appear in this section, and if the developer has not obtained this approval by this time, his new apps or updates may be rejected. This Google move by adding the protection section for applications on the Play Store is certainly a step in the right direction and will help users to know what information is collected about them and how that data is processed and used, but this step will probably not be of many benefits to users, because the system The Android operating system still allows the installation of applications outside the Google Store and from third-party stores, unlike the iOS system from Apple, which put an end to these practices that threaten the security and privacy of the user a long time ago, even if it deprives him of some additional freedom to do what he wants on his device, but from our point of view privacy comes first, and therefore Google must make a greater effort to combat these practices, but without a monopoly, although Google does not have an honorable record in terms of neither fighting monopoly nor respecting people's privacy on the Internet.

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