Google unveils its proposed 'safety section' for apps on Google Play ' TechCrunch

Google has announced plans to add a safety section to Google Play. This will provide more information about data that apps have collected and shared, as well as other privacy and security details. The company today shared the design of the new section user interface and other requirements for developers.Google announced that the safety section would allow users to see how apps handle their data and make informed decisions. App developers will need to tell users whether their app uses data encryption and whether it follows the Google Plays Families policy. They also need to inform users if they have the option to share data with others, if there is a third-party verification of the safety section, and whether users can request deletion of data at the time of uninstalling.Developers can now see the interface Google has released today.The safety section will allow users to view the explanations of the app's data collection, as well as the details and icons for each detail.Users can view additional details such as who has collected and shared data, contact information, financial information, and other information by tapping on the summary.You can also see how data is used to personalize apps and improve functionality. You can also see if data collection is mandatory.Google claims it wants developers to have plenty of time to prepare to these Play Store changes. This is why it now shares more information about data types, user journeys and policy requirements for the new feature.It states that developers will be required to create a privacy policy by April 2022. Previously, apps that collect sensitive or personal data had to provide a privacy policy. Developers will be required to provide accurate and complete information regarding all data in the safety section. This includes how it is used by third-party libraries or SDKs. This is consistent with Apple's requirements for apps.Developers will be able submit their information to the Google Play Console in October 2021 in order for them to review it prior the launch of the safety section of Google Play. This is expected to happen in the first quarter 2022.It also noted that there is a buffer period after sections are launched before safety sections must be approved by Google. The company warns that apps must be approved by Q2-2022 to avoid having their updates or submissions rejected. Apps that don't have safety sections approved will be rejected.This change will highlight active developers on Google Play. They will then be the ones to adopt the new policy and show how their apps use data.It remains to be seen how strict Google will be in enforcing these new guidelines and how meticulously apps will be reviewed. It is worth noting that developers who are conscientious will be able submit their safety sections for third-party review. This will allow them to share that information with users who are concerned about data privacy and security.This could be used to address criticisms that the safety sections are not factual. Since the App Store privacy labels were launched, this has been a problem for Apple. The Washington Post found that many apps displayed false information which made them less useful to users whose data they were trying to protect.Google declined to comment on the matter and did not provide any details regarding how third-party verification will work.