Android Developers Blog Gives Users Control Of Their Data

The Android Developers Blog posted “Giving Users More Transparency and Control Over Account Data”. It was posted by Bethel Otuteye, Senior Director, Product Management, Android App Safety. From the blog post:

Google Play has launched a number of recent initiatives to help developers build consumer trust by showcasing their apps’ privacy and security practices in a way that is simple and easy to understand. Today we’re building on this work with a new data deletion policy that aims to empower users with greater clarity and control over their in-app data.

For apps that enable app account creation, developers will soon need to provide an option to initiate account and data deletion from within the app and online. This web requirement, which you will link in your Data Safety Form, is especially important so that a user can request account and data deletion without having to reinstall an app.

While Play’s Data safety section already lets developers highlight their data deletion options, we know that users want an easier and more consistent way to request them. By creating a more intuitive experience with this policy. We hope to better educate our shared users on the data controls available to them and create greater trust in your apps and Google Play more broadly.

As the new policy states, when you fulfill a request to delete an account, you must also delete the data associated with that account. The feature also gives developers a way to provide more choice: users who may not want to delete their account entirely can choose to delete other data only where applicable (such as activity history, images, or videos). For developers that need to retain certain data for legitimate reasons such as security, fraud prevention, or regulatory compliance, you must clearly disclose those data retention practices…

…As a first step we’re asking developers to submit answers to new Data deletion questions in your app’s Data Safety form by December 7. Early next year, Google Play users will begin to see reflected changes in your app’s store listing, including the refreshed data deletion badge in the Data safety section and the new Data deletion area.

9to5 Google reported that Google specifies that Play developers must “delete the user data associated with that app account”. 

Temporary account deactivation, disabling, or “freezing” the app account does not qualify as account deletion. If you need to retain certain data for legitimate reasons such as security, fraud protection, or regulatory compliance, you must clearly inform users about your data retention practices (for example, within your privacy policy.

TechCrunch reported that Google announced a new account deletion policy for Android apps, which means that apps that offer account creation must have an easy way to delete the account as well. 

According to TechCrunch, the company said it would start enforcing this policy sometime early next year. This move follows Apple, which implemented a similar policy on June 30, 2022, for apps on the App Store.

Personally, I think that requesting that your data be removed from an app is an excellent idea. This is especially important for people who have decided they no longer want to use a particular app.