26 May 2021
Google has announced plans to introduce privacy labels for Android applications. These labels will be aimed at alerting users about data collection as well as the purposes behind doing so. It is similar to what Apple introduced late last year and made it compulsory for all developers with the iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 release.
These privacy labels will be shown in a dedicated Play Store section called Safety. It will include details about different aspects like precise location, contacts, personal information (e.g. name, email address), photos & videos, audio files, and storage files. The developers will also have to share why they are collecting user data.
Google has only made the pre-announcement for now and will be introducing a policy later. This will ensure that if any developer does not follow the guidelines or misrepresent the information in any matter, it will be able to take appropriate actions. The new policy will be applicable to both Google apps and every other developer who has an app published on the platform. While iOS also shows a pop-up letting users choose whether to let the app track them, nothing like that has been announced for Android yet.
The policy will come into effect starting Q3 2021. Google says will developers can start declaring information within the Google Play Console starting the fourth quarter. The Safety section will start becoming visible to Android users from Q1 2022 and the deadline for developers to provide these details is Q2 2022.