A study from Mozilla, a non-profit organization of the Firefox Browser, finds that Minecraft has inconsistent policies in the Google Play Store regarding how they use your data.
When you use these apps, they collect data from your device, such as your location, browsing history, and app usage. This data helps to personalize your experience within the app, for targeted advertising, and other purposes.
Mozilla finds discrepancies in Minecraft’s policies
The report states that around 80% of the 40 apps, including Minecraft, had “some discrepancies” between their privacy policies and the information reported on Google’s data safety form. The form requires apps to disclose how they collect and manage user data for apps that are available in the Google Play Store. The report evaluated those 40 apps based on how transparently they revealed their use of personal data.
According to Mozilla, the problems with Google’s approach to having apps self-report information are twofold. Firstly, the apps are not providing accurate self-reports, which does not reassure the public about their data privacy. Secondly, Google is not taking enough measures to ensure that the information provided in the form is informative and accurate for users, as per the report.
The report claims that this results in consumers being misled and believing that the apps are doing a better job of protecting their privacy than they actually are.
Google’s Honor System
In July, Google mandated all developers to disclose how they collect and handle data for the apps they publish on the Play Store. However, the Mozilla report highlights a key issue, which is that the disclosure form relies on self-reporting by app developers without Google’s intervention or participation. The report states that there is little evidence to suggest that Google is working to ensure the accuracy of the submissions.
A Google spokesperson, Danielle Cohen, criticized the report’s findings in a statement, saying that the report conflates company-wide privacy policies with individual Data safety labels. Cohen also criticized the “arbitrary grades” assigned to apps by Mozilla and called the methodology flawed.
Google also stated in its response included in the report that developers are solely responsible for making complete and accurate disclosures about their app in the Data safety section.
According to Google, if a developer provides inaccurate information in violation of the policy, the company will require them to correct the issue to comply. If the developer fails to comply, they will not be able to publish a new app or update.
This suggests that Google takes the accuracy of the information provided in the disclosure form seriously and may take action against developers of Minecraft who provide inaccurate or misleading information.
Here’s how to protect your data
The report recommends that if there are major discrepancies in in-app policies, the platform owners should remove the app from their stores and sites.
Moreover, if you want to use the app still but want to keep yourself protected online, you can follow these two simple steps to ensure a safe digital space for users like you:
Check app permissions
Before downloading an app, review the permissions it requests and only grant the permissions necessary for its intended function. For example, if a calculator app requests access to your microphone, that should raise a red flag.
Read privacy policies
This may sound too difficult for you to do (because you don’t read the T&Cs of companies), but it’s a crucial step to make when getting apps from the Play Store.
Don’t make that sad face. If you still love the game despite its backlash, you can try these best Minecraft mods of 2023 that may help ease that disappointment a bit! You can try it offline if that works for you as well.