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Google launches 'Privacy Sandbox' to limit data from Android phone users

By Rich Klein
Google launches 'Privacy Sandbox' to limit data from Android phone users
Last year, Apple made a similar change with its operating system intended to safeguard privacy, and it proved to be disruptive for both users and businesses. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Tech giant Google announced on Wednesday that it's starting a multi-year project to safeguard privacy for Android smartphone users and work toward advertising methods that rely less on users' private data.

Google said the initiative is called the Privacy Sandbox and it expects to develop the project over several years.

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The goal of the move, the company said, is developing "effective and privacy enhancing advertising solutions" that let users know that their personal information is protected.

"Mobile apps are a core part of our everyday lives. Currently over 90% of the apps on Google Play are free, providing access to valuable content and services to billions of users. Digital advertising plays a key role in making this possible," Anthony Chavez, Google vice president of product management and Android security, said in a blog post.

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"But in order to ensure a healthy app ecosystem -- benefiting users, developers and businesses -- the industry must continue to evolve how digital advertising works to improve user privacy."

Google said it's working with regulators and wants to increase transparency -- to make sure that the Privacy Sandbox doesn't give preferential treatment to Google ad products or sites.

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"Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties," Chavez added. "We're also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection."

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Last year, Apple made a similar move to safeguard privacy for users of its iOS system that proved to be disruptive for both users and businesses.

At the time, Apple said the change would improve privacy by limiting tracking. Facebook said this month that Apple's move will have a serious impact and cost it $10 billion in lost ad revenue.

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