11 May 2021
Google requires providers to include app data use information in App Store following calls from consumer authorities
Google LLC announced, on 6 May 2021, that a new safety section in Google Play will give transparency into how apps use data. In particular, Google outlined that the safety section will help users understand the data an app collects or shares, and if that data is secured. Additionally, the safety section will aid the understanding of additional details that impact privacy and security, such as whether the app has security practices like data encryption, follows Google’s Families Policy, needs the data to function or if users have choice in sharing it, enables users to request data deletion if they decide to uninstall, and whether the app’s safety section is verified by an independent third party. Moreover, Google set the second quarter of 2022 as the deadline for all new and existing apps to declare the required information.
Furthermore, various consumer authorities have reacted to Google’s announcement, following calls for changes to the Google and Apple, Inc. app stores as part of joint international action from 27 international consumer authorities in the International Consumers Protection and Enforcement Network (‘ICPEN’).
Specifically, in the Netherlands, the Consumer Market Authority (‘ACM’) announced, on 7 May 2021, that Google will require app providers to indicate what personal data is used by each app within the Google Play App Store, noting that calls for change were led by the ACM, the Norwegian Consumer Authority (‘CA’), and the UK consumer authorities. In addition, the ACM outlined that it should now become easier to compare and select apps on the basis of privacy-related characteristics provided on app product pages.
Likewise in Norway, the CA announced, on 7 May 2021, the anticipated changes to the Google Play store, adding that, for the CA, it is crucial that consumers are provided with adequate information to make informed choices regarding the collection and sharing of personal data before they decide to download or purchase an app.