Android users are familiar with the Google Play store, which houses over 2.5 million different apps to meet all your needs. You can choose from a wide variety of options to stream music, stay up to date on news, or browse social media. But with all this talk about data tracking and cookies—not the kind you eat—it can be hard to determine whether certain apps are straying from their core function. Now, Google has issued a new warning about just that. Read on to learn what the company says you should pay close attention to.
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Android users may be feeling tired of warnings from Google, as it was recently announced that a dangerous new malware program called “Octo” had been discovered. According to a blog post from financial cybersecurity firm ThreatFabric, the banking malware targets Android phones. If you accidentally download it, hackers can gain full control of your device. To avoid infecting your phone with Octo or other malware, experts advise being careful about which apps and programs you install on your devices. In light of the most recent warning from Google, there is even more reason to be mindful when clicking “download.”
Google has previously warned Android users about keeping themselves and safe when heading to the Google Play store—and now, there’s a better way to do that. The next time you click on the app store icon, you may notice a new folder. After a delay, the “Data safety” section has been rolled out, which can help users make informed decisions about apps that could invade their privacy, as reported by The US Sun.
“We work hard to keep Google Play a safe, trusted space for people to enjoy the latest Android apps,” a blog post from Google stated. “Today, we’re launching a new feature, the Data safety section, where developers will be required to give people more information about how apps collect, share and secure users’ data.”
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According to a Google blog post, this policy will allow Android users to “learn what an app collects and why, so you can download with confidence.” The Data safety section now requires app developers to state the kind of data they collect from you and how it is used. There will also be a note about whether or not this data is required for the app’s function or if you can opt-out of data collection.
Developers will have to note whether data is being shared with third parties, what the app’s security practices are, whether it is committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy (if qualified), and whether the developers have “validated their security practices against a global security” standard.”
Google asserts it is now giving users “more visibility” into data collection, as “apps should help users explore the world, connect with loved ones, do work, learn something new, and more without compromising user safety.” According to The US Sunthis step was initiated in response to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, which launched in 2021.
But be warned—just because Google now requires apps to disclose more information about data does not mean the final decision to download or not won’t be up to you. While you may not be inclined to read the full user agreement or fine print, it may still be worth your while to do so for the time being.
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