With Checks, Google wants to help developers protect personal data

The Google Area 120 incubator launched a new service for mobile app developers on February 22. Baptized “checks“, it helps ensure compliance with personal data protection legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The tool was developed by Nia Castelly, Checks’ current chief legal officer, and Fergus Hurley, its managing director. About forty people were also involved in the project.

A compliance tool
The freemium solution will be offered to Android and iOS developers. The compliance software, based on a machine learning system, is able to analyze applications and then provide a report on any compliance issues detected and their resolutions. It can also verify compliance with legislation by development kits (SDKs).

Important clarification: Checks disclaims all liability in the event of poor compliance of the application. He specifies that he does not provide any “legal advice“nor of”conclusionregarding the privacy practices of the developers.

In practice, after logging into their Google account, Android application developers answer a series of questions. Using a natural language processing model, Checks dissects multiple sources of information, such as mobile app privacy policy, SDK information, and network traffic.

The free version can be used to complement Google Play’s new data security section, which is expected to come into effect in April 2022. The paid versions – Core, Premium and Enterprise – are designed to meet the needs of developers professionals and large enterprises, including those developing on iOS.

No sharing of analyzed data
Checks does not store or share the data analyzed with the Google Play team, promises the Mountain View firm which is pinned in many cases related to the protection of privacy. She is accused in the United States of knowingly hiding privacy settings to collect geolocation data from Android users without their knowledge. She reportedly even went so far as to pressure smartphone makers to keep privacy settings hidden.

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