Google has announced that it is reversing its decision to remove from the Play Store a section that detailed the permissions each app used. With its Data Safety section, which is designed to give users a sense of what data apps are collecting and how that data is used, the company had more or less replaced that information.
The issue is that the app permissions section was produced by Google, whereas the information in the data safety section was provided by developers, as several commenters noted. By disabling it, Google prevented users from quickly verifying information by comparing the two sections or from combining the data from the two to have a more comprehensive understanding of what an app is doing and what data it has access to.
Google claims that the app permissions section will soon be returning and that the decision to do so was made in response to user criticism in a Twitter thread on Thursday that was first spotted by Android Police. It wasn’t visible at the time of writing, but when the section is back online, it should be accessible alongside the Data Safety section.
The Data Safety section of the Google Play Store, which debuted in April after being revealed in May 2021, is comparable to Apple’s privacy label. Developers must disclose to Google how they handle user data, including if it is shared with outside parties and the type of data the app gathers. They must also disclose other information, such as whether users can request that their data be destroyed and whether the data is encrypted. Google claims that only developers have access to these details, although it does state that if it discovers errors in the Data Safety information, it will take action against the app.