Google Play to get new ‘Data Safety’ section: Here’s what it will mean for users

Google is adding a new ‘Data Safety’ section to its Play Store wherein app developers will be required to give users more information on the app’s data collection practices and how user data is kept secure. Google says users will start seeing the Data Safety section in their Play Store app from tomorrow. Developers have till July 20 to fill this section.

In a blog post, Google notes that they have heard from “users and app developers that displaying the data an app collects, without additional context, is not enough.” The post adds that “users want to know for what purpose their data is being collected and whether the developer is sharing user data with third parties.”

This is the problem that the Data Safety section is hoping to solve. Users can also see whether the app needs a particular type of data to function or if this data collection is optional, adds the post.

Here’s a quick look at what the Data Safety section will reflect from the developer’s side:

  • Whether the developer is collecting data and for what purpose.
  • Whether the developer is sharing data with third parties.
  • The app’s security practices, like encryption of data in transit and whether users can ask for data to be deleted.
  • Whether a qualifying app has committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy to better protect children in the Play Store.
  • Whether the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard.

The post adds that Google has been trying to improve safety for Android users across the board with several key measures. For instance, now when an app asks for key permissions such as location or camera access, users have the option of limiting this to just one time use, only while using the app or all the time. On Android 12 users can go to the Android Privacy dashboard to review data access by apps for sensitive data permissions.

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