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Google Play Store to require app providers to provide consumers with detailed information regarding data collection and use following growing international pressure

2021-05-20
Following international intervention by consumer protection agencies from 27 countries that are members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), Google announced that app providers will be required to indicate on the Google Play Store what personal data each app keeps and potentially shares about its users. This follows an open letter from ICPEN to digital businesses in 2018, followed by a letter from the group of 27 agencies to both Apple and Google in 2019 pressuring them to make the requested changes.1 This joint action was endorsed by Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN).  

With this update to the Google Play Store these ICPEN members have successfully managed to get the two biggest app stores to provide consumers with clear and comprehensive information enabling consumers to compare and choose apps based on how they use personal data. 

Google is planning to roll this feature out in phases and will make this mandatory for all apps from 2022 onward. Apple already made similar changes in 2020. You can read more about this here.  

This joint initiative highlights the importance of international collaboration to ensure consumers are safeguarded in a world where they are spending an increasing amount of time online where they interact with multiple apps daily.   

The Consumer Authority of Norway, The UK Competition and Markets Authority and The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets lead this joint action. You can find their statements below.  

The Consumer Authority of Norway: Google will improve information on how apps collect and use personal data  

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets: Google to require providers to add information about data use to apps in its app store  

Quotes
 
“In a world where borders between nations are no longer a potential barrier to misconduct, international cooperation and collaboration are fundamental in consumer protection. Ensuring consumers are provided with clear and straightforward language regarding the personal data an app both collects and uses, is important for consumers to make informed decisions before downloading any app.” 

-Josephine A.L. Palumbo, President, ICPEN 

“We applaud our counterparts in achieving this impactful result organized by 27 ICPEN members, and appreciate the opportunity to participate in the compliance action - a first for inter-network collaboration in the privacy and consumer protection domains. Such collaborative actions in these increasingly intersecting regulatory spheres provide a more holistic and complementary protection to global citizens for both their consumer interests and privacy rights.”  -OPC-Canada, UK-ICO, PCPD-HK, PPA-Israel – GPEN Committee Members Listed . . .  

Quick Facts  

• ICPEN is an organization of more than 65 consumer protection agencies from around the world working together to combat fraudulent, deceptive and unfair trading practices. • GPEN is a group of privacy regulators whose mission is to improve cooperation in enforcement of cross-border laws affecting privacy.
• This action against Google follows an international intervention by ICPEN members in 2020 where Apple agreed to indicate on its App Store what personal data each app uses. See more detail here.

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