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Earlier this year, Google announced plans to follow in Apple's footsteps and roll out privacy labels for apps on the Play Store next year. The new labels, much like Apple's App Privacy labels, will inform users on what data an app collects about them, allowing them to make a more informed decision on whether to download a specific app.

google-privacy-labels.jpg

Google has now shared additional information regarding the upcoming Play Store "safety section." In a blog post, Android's vice president of security and privacy, Suzanne Frey, laid out the company's timeline for when developers will need to adopt the new labels. Android developers will be able to begin adding their app's privacy information in October of 2021 and will be required to by April of 2022. The labels will launch sometime within Q1 of next year.

Google also shared images of what the upcoming safety section will look like for users on an app's specific page. The section will inform users of what type of data points the app will collect about them. Developers will have the ability to specify how some information, like location, is used specifically within their app. On Apple's App Store, developers don't have the ability to provide context as to why their app may need specific information from a user.

play-store-privacy-labels.jpg

Google is taking another approach. The company says that it spoke to developers and learned that they appreciate being able to provide context towards their data collection practices and being able to specify whether some practices are optional.
In designing our labels, we learned developers appreciate when they can provide context about their data practices and more detail on whether their app automatically collects data versus if that collection is optional. We also learned that users care about whether their data is shared with other companies, and why.
Additionally, Apple earlier this year required that all new apps on the App Store provide information within their Privacy Labels and that all existing apps must provide them with their next update. At least for now, Google says that if developers don't provide their privacy information, it "may" reject that app from the Play Store, leaving the door open for developers to possibly decide not to provide their privacy practices.

Article Link: Google Shares Additional Information on Play Store Privacy Labels Launching Next Year
 

jlocker

macrumors 65816
Jun 20, 2011
1,005
1,168
Lake Michigan
Well I love seeing more security on applications and knowledge about Android Applications. I was a Target Mobile Manager for 8 years, and I cannot tell you how many times I would have a person come in and have all sorts of Cell phones that had spyware, botware, crapware all over the phone.

I had to make a lot of people unhappy by having to wipe there phone so it could become usable again. And of course a lot of them had forgotten their gmail password, and they had lost photo's they could not get back at the time.
 
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RedTheReader

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2019
220
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Don’t really care why an app wants to collect information, I want to be able to stop the collection (optional or not) in the first place.
I imagine that’s not really possible when the app has its own servers that the client’s using. For example, Apple can’t stop data collection in Gmail because Google collects metadata from content on their own servers. The best that can be done is to make a user aware and then let them decide whether or not they want to continue using the app.

Actually, I don’t think it’s even possible when the app’s entirely client-side because Google doesn’t have the manpower to edit the code in each app with a privacy label.
 
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4jasontv

macrumors 601
Jul 31, 2011
4,707
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I imagine that’s not really possible when the app has its own servers that the client’s using. For example, Apple can’t stop data collection in Gmail because Google collects metadata from content on their own servers. The best that can be done is to make a user aware and then let them decide whether or not they want to continue using the app.

Actually, I don’t think it’s even possible when the app’s entirely client-side because Google doesn’t have the manpower to edit the code in each app with a privacy label.
This reminds me of the pushback dentists used to give about changing their gloves between patients. The gloves already protect the doctor, so why would they need to change them?
 
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Red Menace

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2011
519
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Colorado, USA
I imagine that’s not really possible when the app has its own servers that the client’s using. For example, Apple can’t stop data collection in Gmail because Google collects metadata from content on their own servers. The best that can be done is to make a user aware and then let them decide whether or not they want to continue using the app.
Can't do much about webmail since that is pretty much over before you even look at it, but when a browser or calculator or whatever app wants access to anything I don't want to give them, I want to be able to block that, regardless of whatever reason the developer thinks justifies it. But then again, I try to avoid Google simply because I am aware that they hoover up anything that touches their servers.
 
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BigBlur

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2021
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I imagine that’s not really possible when the app has its own servers that the client’s using. For example, Apple can’t stop data collection in Gmail because Google collects metadata from content on their own servers. The best that can be done is to make a user aware and then let them decide whether or not they want to continue using the app.

Actually, I don’t think it’s even possible when the app’s entirely client-side because Google doesn’t have the manpower to edit the code in each app with a privacy label.
Yep. Another thing that's hard to control is your family and friends that have you in their contacts. You might not allow an app to read your contacts, but your family and friends might. So companies still get quite a bit of information about you through other people...your number, where you live, your circle of friends, etc.
 
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bookofxero

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2017
101
136
Unlike Apple, it looks like Google actually talks with (rather than at) their app developers and LISTENS to what they have to say and so is letting them provide more context as to why they are requesting the data in the privacy labels. Google is evil, but this is a good idea.
It is almost like doing something after someone else did it first gives you the mystical, magical powers of hindsight.
 
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sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,560
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Interesting.
Suprised the label is not a block long, or at least multiple pages.
 
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ian87w

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2020
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Indonesia
Well, Let's see how would this work. Right now, it's baffling seeing the existence of apps with suspicious permissions, eg. a podcast app that needs access to camera and microphone, or a calculator that needs access to my contacts. Knowing Android, I would say majority of developers would largely ignore this and just business as usual. There are even ways to force access despite the user specifically denying permissions. It's up to the user to carefully check the permissions prior to installing, read reviews, and see if the developers is somewhat trustworthy.
 
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Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,480
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"We also learned that users care about whether their data is shared with other companies, and why."

We care about our privacy? Who would have thought...
 
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