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Android apps to get Apple-like ‘nutritional labels’ for data transparency

Google has announced plans to give Play store apps ‘nutrition labels’ that inform users precisely what data the developers are collecting.

In a move that matches Apple’s App Store integration of the feature late last year, Google will require devs to provide information on how it stores and uses the data it collects from users.

The new safety section “will give transparency into how apps use data” Google says in a post on the Android Developers blog. Google will ask devs to disclose what it does with location data, contacts, personal information, photos, videos and more.

Beyond that, they’ll have to say how the date is used, for example to assist with the functionality of the app (a camera app will need access to the camera and the photos for example), or personalisation of features.

Google says that it will enforce the information provided by the apps and any divergences from the official line will need to be fixed or developers will face action. Ironically, it took Google a good while to get on board with Apple’s similar policy and bring its own iOS apps into compliance!

“Similar to app details like screenshots and descriptions, developers are responsible for the information disclosed in their section. Google Play will introduce a policy that requires developers to provide accurate information. If we find that a developer has misrepresented the data they’ve provided and is in violation of the policy, we will require the developer to fix it. Apps that don’t become compliant will be subject to policy enforcement,” Google says.

Google is giving app developers plenty of time to adhere to this policy though, with developers required to provide the information by Q2 of next year. However, more transparency about data use is always a good thing for consumers, even if it upsets some of the major app players out there, who trade in user data for targeted advertising.

Are you in the market for a new Google-powered handset? Check out our round-up of the best Android phones for 2021.

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