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Internet integration into our lives is something that many of us have willingly welcomed, and with around 97% of Americans owning a cell phone of some sort. It’s clear to see that it’s a must-have feature in many of our lives, along with the apps created to make our lives that bit easier. The trade-off for this is that our private, or personal data, is often used in ways many of us are not aware of.

In a bid to combat this, in 2021 Google announced that it was going to launch its own app privacy labels in 2022, following Apple’s privacy data labels, which were launched in 2020. This move will allow users of apps in Google Play to see what type of their data is collected and how it’s used. This will provide users with more information and context about how their personal data is used and determine which apps collect the most data about them, according to this informative article by Tech Advisor.

What can Users of the Google Play Store do to keep their data private?

It’s advisable for individuals to be proactive when it comes to protecting their data and privacy, not relying on others to solely have the responsibility to keep their information safe. This could range from providing general information instead of private on sites where anyone can see it, making use of privacy settings on every site they use, using encrypted sites or apps (like WhatsApp to communicate), and not adding locations until after you've left them and keeping posts with sensitive or personal data restricted to friends, as ExpressVPN suggests in their infographic. Using all of these may seem like a lot, but once you’ve downloaded the software or app and changed your privacy settings, it’s unlikely you’ll have to repeat the process, aside from downloading the odd update. When you look at it this way, taking these simple steps could not only be a timesaver but a gamechanger too.

Why did Google decide to introduce Google Data Play?

Google has been instrumental when it comes to making sure apps in Google Play respect their users’ privacy, according to Tech Crunch. It’s even taken steps to prevent the availability of outdated apps in its store to make sure that the others which are available for users are using the latest privacy and security features.

They said that feedback from users indicated that they want to know why their data is being collected, if it’s being shared with third parties, and how their data is being secured after they download an app.

In line with this, introducing Google Play Data will provide Google Play users with the following information:

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● Whether app developers are collecting their users' data and why.

● If the app developer is sharing user data with third parties.

● The app’s security practices, such as user data in transit encryption and if users can ask for data to be deleted.

● If the app is committed to following Google Play’s Family Policy to provide better protection to children using the Google Play Store.

● If the app developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard.

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Individuals are becoming more aware of the trail of personal data they leave behind when they surf the net. Businesses have paid attention and have taken steps to help limit this through various means, such as encryption and VPNs. Major players like Apple and Google have also positively reacted when it comes to their apps, attempting to become more transparent when it comes to users' data. This allows all of us to make an informed choice about how we want our data to be used, and this can only be a good thing.