A latest study from Mozilla’s “Privacy Not Included project” claims that the makers of the most widely used Android app in the world are giving false or misleading information in the “privacy nutrition labels” in Google’s Play Store.
The study compared the app privacy policies to the privacy information that app developers are required to provide in the Google Play Store.
It also compared the privacy information that app developers are required to fill out in Google’s Play Store to the privacy policies of the apps.
“Consumers care about privacy and want to make smart decisions when they download apps. Google’s Data Safety labels are supposed to help them do that. Unfortunately, they don’t. Instead, I’m worried they do more harm than good,” said Jen Caltrider, Project Lead, Mozilla.
“When I see Data Safety labels stating that apps like Twitter or TikTok don’t share data with third parties, it makes me angry because it is completely untrue. Of course, Twitter and TikTok share data with third parties. Consumers deserve better. Google must do better,” he added.
Google, for example, exempts apps that share data with “service providers” from disclosure rules, which is problematic due to both the narrow definition of service providers used by Google and the vast volume of customer data involved.
According to the report, Google absolves itself of the responsibility to verify the accuracy of the information, claiming that apps “are responsible for making comprehensive and accurate declarations” in their Data Safety labels.
Mozilla conducted the study by assessing the privacy policies and labels of the 20 most popular paid apps versus the 20 most popular free apps on the Google Play Store.
It discovered that 16 of 40 apps, or 40%, had a “Poor” grade, including Minecraft, Twitter, and Facebook.
YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, WhatsApp Chat, and Instagram were among the 15 apps that received a “Needs Improvement” grade.
Only six of the forty apps obtained a “OK” grade. Candy Crush Saga, Google Play Games, Subway Surfers, Stickman Legends Offline Games, PowerAmp Full Version Unlocker, and League of Stickman: 2020 Ninja were among the apps.
Three apps, UC Browser, League of Stickman Acti, and Terraria, failed to complete the form.
“Google Play Store’s misleading Data Safety labels give users a false sense of security. Honest nutrition labels help us eat better. It’s time we have honest data safety labels to help us better protect our privacy,” Caltrider added.