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Google’s Data Privacy labels are misleading and false: Mozilla

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Mozilla has researched the top 20 paid and 20 free apps on the Google Play Store, and the researchers uncovered that the Google Play Store’s Data Safety labels were misleading and false.

Of the 40 apps reviewed by Mozilla, 80% had discrepancies between the apps’ privacy policy and the information they reported on Google Data Safety Form. The apps were classified into three rating groups — Poor, Needs Improvement, and OK. Apps with an ‘OK’ score had privacy policies aligned with what they had disclosed in the Google Safety Form, whereas apps with a ‘Poor’ score suffered major discrepancies on their Data Safety Forms.

  • The study also found that 16 out of 40 apps received a ‘Poor’ grade. This includes some of the big names in the industry, like Facebook, Minecraft and Twitter.
  • 15 apps received a ‘Needs Improvement’ score. YouTube, Gmail, Whatsapp, and Instagram were some apps here.
  • Just 6 apps received an ‘OK’ grade — Candy Crush Saga, Google Play Games, Subway Surfers, Stickman Legends Offline Games, Power Amp Full Version Unlocker, and League of Stickman: 2020 Ninja.
  • UC Browser, League of Stickman Acti and Terraria did not even fill out the form, yet the apps are on the store.
Facebook and Meta’s other apps are known to be intrusive

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,” said Jen Caltrider, Project lead of Mozilla.

The study raises some questions about the safety of the apps as well as the ability of multi-billion companies like Google and Apple to police the apps. One solution that emerges from all this mayhem is the adoption of a universal, standardized Data Privacy Form by the platforms.

“The history of nutrition labelling shows that it’s possible to create a standardized system that becomes part of the cultural fabric and makes a positive difference in people’s daily lives,” said Caltrider.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: