Google is developing a safety section on the Play Store to provide information about an app’s data collection, privacy, and security practices. Developers are expected to start declaring their Safety info from October, with the deadline to submit the info in April 2022. Users will start seeing the info on the app descriptions in early 2022.
Screenshots from Google show that the safety section will be located above the ratings and reviews section. It will give a summary of the app’s privacy features, data collection and whether data is encrypted. Users will be able to click on “See details” to get comprehensive information regarding the type of information that will be collected, how applicable it is when using the app and when it will be used.
According to Google, developers will be able to “give a user deeper insight into their privacy and security practices, as well as explain the data the app may collect and why — all before a user installs the app.”
Developers who do not submit security information prior to the display of the section will have their apps flagged by a “No details” disclaimer. Eventually, Google says, apps that do not provide safety information will not be listed and could have their updates blocked.
The development of this feature comes amid increased calls for more privacy for users by big tech companies. Last year, Apple added privacy labels in its iOS 14 update, offering more transparency and allowing users to opt out of data collection by apps.
Google recently announced that it was phasing out third-party cookies with no plans of replacing it with an alternative tracker.