Google is backtracking on a privacy mishap

Patrick Devaney


Things can move fast in tech, but it looks like Google recently tried to move too fast in the wrong direction recently and has since had to pull a screeching halt and move into reverse. It was only a week ago when Google released details about updating the permissions procedures for apps on Android’s Google Play Store, but now the company has backtracked completely. Let’s check it out.

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Google recently decided to hide the app permissions list for all products listed on the Google Play Store. The decision followed the rollout of an app called Data Safety, which required the developer to disclose everything to Google, including the data they were collecting and if they were sharing it with everyone. This did mark a positive move, but the removal of the permissions sparked an outcry, which has caused Google to backtrack.

Google is backtracking on a privacy mishap

The outcry relates to user autonomy when it comes to checking and cross-checking the reliability of the apps you download on your phone. And also because Google said that app developers “are responsible for making complete and accurate declarations in [their] app’s store listing on Google Play.” Essentially, the app developers could lie about the permissions they were giving, as the new way meant nobody was really checking. Google responded to the outcry with a thread of tweets explaining it was reversing the decision. Google said:

“Privacy and transparency are core values in the Android community. We heard your feedback that you find the app permissions section in Google Play useful, and we’ve decided to reinstate it. The app permissions section will be back shortly.”

It is good to see Google reacting so quickly to user discomfort at the new way Android app permissions were being handled. Privacy concerns are very real these days with many private companies hoovering up and trading many different types of user data. It is very understandable that users would feel uncomfortable about losing control over being able to check for themselves what data app developers would be harvesting from their phones.

If you are worried about the data that tech companies are gathering about you, you should check out our guide to deleting everything Google knows about you.

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