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Google Play Now Shows How Apps Will Use Your Data

The feature requires developers to disclose how apps collect, share and secure user data.

Google Play Store logo
The Google Play Store has a new section meant to help protect your data.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Google launched a "Data safety" section in its Play app store on Tuesday. The feature is meant to show people safety and privacy guidelines before they download an app, such as how data is collected, protected and used.

"We heard from users and app developers that displaying the data an app collects, without additional context, is not enough," Google said in a post. "That's why we designed the Data safety section to allow developers to clearly mark what data is being collected and for what purpose it's being used."

The section shows:

  • 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, which is designed to better protect children in the Play store.
  • Whether the developer has validated its security practices against a global security standard (more specifically, the Mobile Application Security Assessment).

Google announced the Data safety section in July, and it covers both first-party and third-party app developers. The feature is similar to Apple's "nutrition labels" for apps. 

You also now have more control over what data downloaded apps can access. For example, if an app asks to access your location, you can choose to grant permission for onetime use, for use only while using the app, or for use all the time. You can also go to the Android Privacy dashboard to review what level of access your apps have.

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