7. mai 2021

Google will improve information on how apps collect and use personal data

Following pressure from the Norwegian Consumer Authority and the consumer authorities in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, Google commits to make changes to their app store, Google Play.

Google will improve information on how apps collect and use personal data

Google will require apps on Google Play to provide consumers with information on how the individual app collects, use, and share personal data. These changes will provide consumers’ with greater transparency on the data collection and data sharing of the apps they have on their phones and tablets.
The Norwegian Consumer Authority, together with the consumer authorities in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, has led a joint action against Google and Apple. In 2018, the Norwegian Consumer Authority coordinated a joint international action in the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) regarding consumer data and terms of use.
In the joint action we found that information on how apps gather and use personal data was often hidden in oversized documents dictating the terms of use. Furthermore, this also includes information on whether, and for what purposes, personal data was shared with third parties. Information on how apps gather and use personal data was not easily accessible from where consumers actually download the apps, i.e. this important information was not a part of the consumers’ decision of whether to download the app or not.
Based on the findings in the joint international action, the consumer authorities of 27 countries, all members of ICPEN, called for changes in the app stores of Apple and Google. The Norwegian Consumer Authority is of the opinion that the business model of an app must be clear to consumers, especially were the app relies on a data driven business model which monetize consumer data for targeted advertisements.

First Apple, then Google

For the Norwegian Consumer Authority it is crucial that consumers are provided with adequate information to make informed choices regarding the collection and sharing of personal data before they decide to download or purchase an app.
Last year, Apple made the reported changes to their app store, while dialogue continued with Google.
Now Google too has announced that they will ensure that consumers are given information on how their personal data are gathered and used by apps in their app store, Google Play. The deadline for all new and existing apps to declare information will be towards the end of the first half of 2022.
– It should be up to you as a consumer to decide what personal data you want to share and with whom, says Trond Rønningen, Director General of the Norwegian Consumer Authority.
– With the changes reported by Google and the changes already implemented by Apple, consumers can now chose apps on their phones or tablets based on the data collection and data sharing of the individual app, Rønningen says.