Google now requires Android apps to let you delete your account

BGR* reports that deleting your account and scrubbing your personal data from a mobile app is often frustrating at best and impossible at worst.

Google wants to improve that. Bethel Otuteye, senior director of Android App Safety, explained in a blog post Wednesday that the Google Play store’s new data deletion policy will give users more control over their in-app data.

 Developers of Android apps that enable account creation will soon have to provide an option to initiate account and data deletion from within the app and online as well. Otuteye says that the online option is especially important so that users can request to have their accounts and data deleted without having to redownload the app. “As the new policy states, when you fulfill a request to delete an account, you must also delete the data associated with that account,” says Otuteye.  

The new data deletion policy also gives users more choice. For example, a user may want to delete the data associated with their account (images, videos, documents, etc.) while keeping the account active. If developers need to retain any of the data for security, fraud prevention, or regulatory compliance purposes, they have to clearly disclose those practices.

Many people think that when they delete an app from their phone, the data will be wiped from servers as well but sadly this is far from the truth. We spill our personal and private data in more ways than we realise and it can often be extremely difficult to clean up after such a spillage. However, features like this will help protect people’s accounts, data and identities. Data deletion is usually very difficult to achieve as once data has been leaked or shared, it can be hard to regain control and it can remain out there in the wild in some form. 

While many people think their data isn’t stored with the app owner after deletion, they are often also reluctant to delete their history. They may often think: “what if I need that info at some point”? The problem with that kind of thinking is that personal data is a toxic asset, not just for companies but individuals too, therefore, if your old conversations from early years of social media were leaked, it may cause damage.Although this new feature may not catch everything at first, it offers a starting point and it highlights the importance of protecting our data offering a simple and proactive approach to help.

*ESET does not bear any responsibility for the accuracy of this information

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