On May 6, 2021, two days after the Me2B Alliance published our report on data sharing in school utility apps, Google issued a “pre-announcement” describing major improvements to app labeling in the Android app store:
We work closely with developers to keep Google Play a safe, trusted space for billions of people to enjoy the latest Android apps. Today, we’re pre-announcing an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security.
The announcement signals a serious intention to not only catch up to Apple’s privacy label but surpass it, by introducing independent validation of the Android app privacy information.
According to the announcement, the official policy will be published in Q3 2021, and by Q2 2022, all apps in the Google Play store will need to provide the new “safety section” information. Details on the new “safety section” are where the rubber meets the road, and as we noted in our report, there currently isn’t adequate privacy or safety labeling for apps. Nevertheless, we’re encouraged by the new policy and hope that Google’s new safety section includes SDKs by name and owner.
The announcement also makes clear that the new “safety section” will be independently audited, though unclear if that will take effect in Q2 2022.
The Me2B Alliance currently performs independent audits of apps and websites and looks forward to learning more about Google’s independent app auditing.
But why wait until next year when you can get your app or website audited by us today? Contact us to get started.