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Google to require providers to add information about data use to apps in its app store

In its app store Google Play, Google will require app providers to indicate what personal data each app uses. Google will introduce this requirement this summer. Apple already implemented this requirement in late-2020. Starting in 2022, consumers will be able to see this information when searching for apps in the Google Play app store. They will be able to take the information about data use into consideration when choosing apps. This will act as an incentive for providers to compete on favorable privacy conditions.

With this change, Google answers the call made by 27 consumer authorities across the world, united in ICPEN (International Consumers Protection and Enforcement Network). The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is also one of its members. ACM, together with the Norwegian and UK consumer authorities, were the driving forces behind this action.

What will change for consumers?

It will now become much easier to compare and choose apps on the basis of privacy-related characteristics. Google will require app providers to add information to their apps’ product pages in the Google Play store, explaining what data each app collects.

Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, Member of the Board of ACM, comments: “We are glad to see that Google is taking this step now, too. Information about what data an app uses is of vital importance to consumers. If consumers have this information before using an app, they will have more control over their privacy. ACM has made a case for this within ICPEN.”

The digital economy: one of the topics on ACM Agenda

The digital economy offers many benefits such as comparing and ordering products and services easily. However, digital markets do not always work well for people and businesses. That is why the digital economy is one of the topics on the 2021 ACM Agenda. As part of that topic, ACM in 2021 will take enforcement action against online misleading practices. In addition, ACM is conducting an investigation into the conditions under which providers get access to Apple’s app store.