Google API Services: User Data Policy

Last updated October 8, 2018

Google API Services, including Google Sign-In, are part of an authentication and authorization framework that gives you, the developer, the ability to connect directly with Google users when you would like to request access to Google user data. The policy below, as well as the Google APIs Terms of Service, govern the use of Google API Services when you request access to Google user data. Please check back from time to time as these policies are occasionally updated.

Accurately represent your identity and intent

If you wish to access Google user data you must provide Google users and Google with clear and accurate information regarding your use of Google API Services. This includes, without limitation, requirements to accurately represent:

  • Who is requesting Google user data? All permission requests must accurately represent the identity of the application that seeks access to user data. If you have obtained authorized client credentials to access Google API Services, keep these credentials confidential.
  • What data are you requesting? You must provide clear and accurate information explaining the types of data being requested. In addition, if you plan to access or use a type of user data that was not originally disclosed in your privacy policy when a Google user initially authorized access, you must update your privacy policy and prompt the user to consent to any changes before you may access that data.
  • Why are you requesting Google user data? Be honest and transparent with users when you explain the purpose for which your application requests user data. If your application requests data for one reason but the data will also be utilized for a secondary purpose, you must notify Google users of both use cases. As a general matter, users should be able to readily understand the value of providing the data that your application requests, as well as the consequences of sharing that data with your application.

Be transparent about the data you access with clear and prominent privacy disclosures

You must publish a privacy policy that fully documents how your application interacts with user data. You must list the privacy policy URL in your OAuth client configuration when your application is made available to the public.

Your Privacy Policy and all in-product privacy notifications should be accurate, comprehensive, and easily accessible. Your privacy policy and in-product privacy notifications must thoroughly disclose the manner in which your application accesses, uses, stores, or shares Google user data. Your use of Google user data must be limited to the practices explicitly disclosed in your published privacy policy, but you should consider the use of additional in-product notifications to ensure that users understand how your application will handle user data. If you change the way your application uses Google user data, you must notify users and prompt them to consent to an updated privacy policy before you make use of Google user data in a new way or for a different purpose that originally disclosed.

Disclosures about data use should be prominent and timely. Your privacy policy and any in-product notifications regarding data use should be prominently displayed in your application interface so that users can find this information easily. Where possible, disclosures about data use should be timely and shown in context.

Request relevant permissions

Permission requests should make sense to users, and should be limited to the critical information necessary to implement your application.

Don't request access to information that you don't need. Only request access to the minimal, technically feasible scope of access that is necessary to implement existing features or services in your application, and limit access to the minimum amount of data needed. Don't attempt to "future proof" your access to user data by requesting access to information that might benefit services or features that have not yet been implemented.

Request permissions in context where possible. Request access to user data in context (via incremental auth) whenever you can, so that users understand why you need the data.

Deceptive or unauthorized use of Google API Services is prohibited

You are strictly prohibited from engaging in any activity that may deceive users or Google about your use of Google API Services. This includes without limitation the following requirements:

Do not misrepresent what data is collected or what you do with Google user data. Be up front with users so that they can make an informed decision to grant authorization. You must disclose all user data that you access, use, store, delete, or share, as well as any actions you take on a user's behalf.

You are not permitted to access, aggregate, or analyze Google user data if the data will be displayed, sold, or otherwise distributed to a third party conducting surveillance.

Overall there should be no surprises for Google users: hidden features, services, or actions that are inconsistent with the marketed purpose of your application may lead Google to suspend your ability to access Google API Services.

Do not mislead Google about an application's operating environment. You must accurately represent the environment in which the authentication page appears. For example, don't claim to be an Android application in the user agent header if your application is running on iOS, or represent that your application's authentication page is rendered in a desktop browser if instead the authentication page is rendered in an embedded web view.

Do not use undocumented APIs without express permission. Don't reverse engineer undocumented Google API Services or otherwise attempt to derive or use the underlying source code of undocumented Google API Services. You may only access data from Google API Services according to the means stipulated in the official documentation of that API Service, as provided on Google's developer site.

Do not make false or misleading statements about any entities that have allegedly authorized or managed your application. You must accurately represent the company, organization, or other authority that manages your application. Making false representations about client credentials to Google or Google users is grounds for suspension.

Child-directed apps

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, applies to websites, apps, and services directed to children under the age of 13 and general audience apps, websites, or services with users known to be under the age of 13. While child-directed apps may use some Google services, developers are responsible for using these services according to their obligations under the law. Please review the FTC's guidance on COPPA (including information about the differences between mixed audience apps and apps directed primarily to children from the FTC's website) and consult with your own legal counsel.

Child-directed apps: If your application is directed primarily at children, it should not use Google Sign-In or any other Google API Service that accesses data associated with a Google Account. This restriction includes Google Play Games Services and any other Google API Service using the OAuth technology for authentication and authorization.

Mixed audience apps: Applications that are mixed audience shouldn't require users to sign in to a Google Account, but can offer, for example, Google Sign-In or Google Play Games Services as an optional feature. In these cases, users must be able to access the application in its entirety without signing into a Google Account.

Maintain a secure operating environment

You must take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect all applications or systems that make use of Google API Services against unauthorized or unlawful access, use, destruction, loss, alteration, or disclosure.

Additional Requirements for Specific API Scopes

On October 8, 2018 we announced several platform and policy changes, including the new requirements in this section and a forthcoming policy requiring applications to undergo security assessments. Enforcement of these additional requirements will begin on January 9, 2019 when all new applications must undergo a new application review process before accessing certain API scopes. Applications submitted for verification before January 9, 2019 will be given a grace period to come into compliance, and must submit for re-review no later than February 15, 2019. Additional information about the forthcoming security assessment requirement will be posted in January.

Certain Google OAuth API Scopes (the "Covered Scopes") are subject to additional requirements in this section. These requirements do not apply to your access of user data from G Suite accounts, and if your application only accesses G Suite accounts, it does not need to comply with these requirements.

Note: G Suite administrators can control access to connected applications via whitelisting. Learn more about best practices for managing your enterprise OAuth ecosystem.

Covered Scopes:

  • Gmail - Any Gmail API scope that permits an application to
    • Read, create, or modify message bodies (including attachments), metadata, or headers; or
    • Control mailbox access, email forwarding, or admin settings.

Here is a list of the Covered Scopes for Gmail.

Application Type: Only certain application types may access Covered Scopes for each product.

Product Permitted Application Types
Gmail
  1. Native and web email clients that allow users to compose, send, read, and process email via a user interface
  2. Applications that automatically backup email
  3. Applications that enhance the email experience for productivity purposes (such as applications for customer relationship management, delayed sending of email, or mail merge)
  4. Applications that use information from emails to provide reporting or monitoring services for the benefit of users (such as applications that automate travel itineraries or track flight or package delivery statuses)

Limited Use: Your use of data obtained via the Covered Scopes must comply with these requirements:

  1. Limit your use of data to providing or improving user-facing features that are prominent in the requesting application's user interface. All other uses of the data are prohibited;
  2. Only transfer the data to others if necessary to provide or improve user-facing features that are prominent in the requesting application's user interface. You may also transfer data as necessary to comply with applicable law or as part of a merger, acquisition, or sale of assets with notice to users. All other transfers or sales of the user data are prohibited;
  3. Don't use or transfer the data for serving ads, including retargeting, personalized, or interest-based advertising; and
  4. Don't allow humans to read the data, unless
    1. You first obtained the user's affirmative agreement for specific messages;
    2. It is necessary for security purposes (such as investigating a bug or abuse);
    3. It is necessary to comply with applicable law; or
    4. Your use is limited to internal operations and the data (including derivations) have been aggregated and anonymized.

These prohibitions apply to the raw data obtained from Covered Scopes and data aggregated, anonymized, or derived from them. You must ensure that your employees, agents, contractors, and successors comply with this Google API Services: User Data Policy.

Enforcement

You must access Google API Services in accordance with the Google APIs Terms of Service. If you are found to be out of compliance with the Google APIs Terms of Service, this Google API Services: User Data Policy, or any Google product policies that are applicable to the Google API Service you are using, Google may revoke or suspend your access to Google API Services and other Google products and services. Your access to Google API Services may also be revoked if your application enables end-users or other parties to violate the Google APIs Terms of Service and/or Google policies.