Google this week announced the reversing of its recent decision to remove the app permissions list from the Google Play Store for Android.
In tweets published on July 21, the Android Developers team stated that “privacy and transparency are core values in the Android community. We heard your feedback that you find the app permissions section in Google Play useful, and we’ve decided to reinstate it.”
Earlier in the month, the company had removed the permissions section from the Play Store, though it did not provide a reason for doing so, with Google now intending to reintroduce a simplified data safety section that offers a clear overview of “how an app collects, shares, & secures user data” and ensure greater transparency “for users to understand an app’s ability to access specific restricted data & actions too.”
Google imposed an “enforcement deadline” for developers that went into effect on July 20, requiring them to declare the data safety section for their apps, with any non-compliant apps being “subject to policy enforcement,” which in practice means their updates could be blocked.
However, Google’s enhanced system is by no means perfect, replying entirely on developers to make “complete and accurate declarations.” This could potentially lead to information that’s either misrepresentative or entirely wrong, and it’s important to note that other industry leaders, such as Apple’s App Store, have a similar self‑reporting policy that, according to a report from The Washington Post, “falls short of being helpful.” Conversely, Google has stated that it may take “appropriate enforcement action” if it encounters instances of an app’s behavior failing to align with its data safety declaration.
The tech giant has yet to specify when the permission section will be back on the Play Store, tweeting only that it “will be back shortly.”