Skip to main content

Apple wants to eliminate dodgy apps with nutritional info-esque privacy labels

App store revenues 2019
(Image credit: Future)

In a bid to further ensure the privacy of iOS users, the Apple App Store will soon have to publish details about the data collection and sharing practices of services on the platform. 

Starting December 8, 2020, developers who submit a new app or an update to an existing one will need to answer a series of questions about how an app collects and uses data about its users.

Reports have also claimed that Apple will turn their responses into standardized summaries to help users understand an app’s policies for handling the user’s data. 

Read and ignore?

Erik Neuenschwander, Apple's user privacy manager, introduced the upcoming privacy labels back at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2020. 

He said it was the nutritional labels on packaged food that gave them the idea of having similar disclosures for apps.

Putting the idea into action, Apple is now asking all app developers to get ready to submit the relevant information, which will be made mandatory next month. 

Developers have to adhere to privacy requirements for listing apps on Google Play as well, but Apple’s requirements seem more thorough. 

Explaining the process to developers, Apple says that the disclosure is mandatory only for apps that collect data from the app, either themselves or through a third-party such as analytics tools and ad networks. 

Depending on the type of data collected, the developers will be asked a series of questions for each data type. At the end they’ll be shown a summary and a preview of how this information will be shown to the users on the App Store. 

Like with any privacy measure, the success (or failure) lies with the users of the app. While asking developers for the data collection and sharing information might give them some pause, there’s no stopping users from ignoring the details. The real challenge is for Apple to collate this information and summarize it to the users in a way that makes sense to them, instead of putting them to sleep.

Via The Register