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Google Play Store May Remove Preview of App Permissions in Favor of New Data Security Perspectives



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Google Play Store May Remove Preview of App Permissions in Favor of New Data Security Perspectives


In May of last year, Google introduced a new data security section for apps published on the Play Store. A feature that started appearing in real app lists in April this year and will soon be mandatory for all apps (July 20). Now, data security information sections have started to appear in the actual live app listings on the store, and there’s something a bit concerning. Namely, the new info window appears to replace the app permissions preview that all Play Store apps had before.

The new data security section in the Google Play Store

If that sounds a bit confusing, here’s why you should care. Every app that appears on the Play Store traditionally has an overview of the Android OS permissions it requests from the system. Things ranging from benign and obvious things like network access to potentially much more problematic and sensitive things like access to contacts, the phone’s file system or location data. Google automatically generates this list by parsing a developer’s app files when submitting them to the store. Therefore, nothing can be omitted and not revealed to the user intentionally or not.

In contrast, the new Data Security section is completed by the developer. Google has an interface in its Play Store Developer Console that lists a variety of device and personal data types for the developer to explore and reveal if and how their app handles it. For example, the questionnaire may ask whether our GSMArena application, for example, accesses your location and personal data (which, by the way, it does not) and then, if so, how this data is processed and whether it is shared or No. with third parties. This is left entirely to the “honor system” so to speak, with Google simply stating in its guidelines that providing false data could result in some form of punishment.

The new data security section in the Google Play Store

So while we all welcome the new information on data security, it’s not hard to see why putting it on the Play Store listings instead of the app permissions overview isn’t ideal practice. At the moment, that is exactly what appears to be happening. Certainly, there is still time to adjust this behavior and leave the two data in place. Or maybe we’re wrong here and users don’t care as much about permissions? Let us know what you think of the question in the comments.

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