Google introduces data deletion policy for Android apps on Google Play

Users will be able to delete their accounts and data collected about them online

Android apps will have to allow users to delete their accounts online

Google has recently unveiled a new data deletion policy for Android app developers, aiming to give users more transparency and control over their in-app data and accounts. This initiative by Google Play is part of a larger effort to build consumer trust by showcasing privacy and security practices in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. Google said:[1]

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.

Under the new policy, developers will be required to offer an option for users to initiate account and data deletion from within the app and online. This web-based requirement will allow users to request data deletion without having to reinstall the app, making it more convenient and user-friendly.

Google Play's Data Safety section already allows developers to highlight their data deletion options, but the new policy aims to create a more intuitive and consistent experience for users.

When fulfilling a request to delete an account, developers must also delete the data associated with that account, as stated in the new policy. However, developers will also have the flexibility to provide more choice to users.

For instance, users who do not want to delete their account entirely can choose to delete other data, such as activity history, images, or videos, where applicable. It is also mandatory for developers to clearly disclose any data retention practices, such as retaining certain data for security, fraud prevention, or regulatory compliance purposes.

The timeline of the new policy

To comply with the new policy, developers must submit answers to the new Data Deletion questions in their app's Data Safety form by December 7.[2] The changes will be reflected in the app's store listing, including the refreshed data deletion badge in the Data Safety section and the new Data Deletion area, starting from early 2024. Developers who need more time can file for an extension in the Play Console until May 31, 2024.

This new policy by Google Play follows a similar move made by Apple in June 2022, which requires developers to provide users with a way to delete their accounts from within the apps.[3]

The move is in response to increasing global enforcement of data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, and the growing demand from users for more control over their personal data.

Users to take control of their data

Google's effort to empower users and build consumer trust is commendable, as data breaches and privacy concerns remain major issues in the digital world. By allowing users to easily delete their in-app data and accounts, Google is taking a proactive approach to address these concerns and promote transparency in the app ecosystem.

Google's new data deletion policy for Android apps is a significant step towards giving users greater control over their personal data. With the requirement for in-app and web-based options for data deletion, along with clear disclosure of data retention practices, developers are expected to prioritize user privacy and security.

This move by Google Play aligns with the growing global trend of data protection and empowers users to have more transparency and control over their data in the apps they use.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

Ugnius Kiguolis is a professional malware analyst who is also the founder and the owner of 2-Spyware. At the moment, he takes over as Editor-in-chief.

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