Apple ramps up data collection transparency efforts, rolls out privacy labels to App Store

By: |
December 15, 2020 2:33 PM

Apple first announced plans for introducing new privacy labels akin to nutrition labels on food items in June during WWDC 2020 and made clear that developers had to submit all the necessary information by December 8

Apple, iOS, privacy labelsApple also intends to roll another privacy feature with the launch of iOS 14.

Apple keeping its promise to provide transparency around iOS app data collection has launched new privacy labels on the App Store. These new labels will be required for all third-party and first-party apps across iOs, macOS, watchOS, tvOS and iPadOS. Every time an app developer submits an update, the privacy labels have to be also updated.

Apple first announced plans for introducing new privacy labels akin to nutrition labels on food items in June during WWDC 2020 and made clear that developers had to submit all the necessary information by December 8 or stand losing out on the ability to update their app through the App Store. Following that announcement, Apple is launching the feature formally for all Apple product users.

Apple’s own first-party apps will also have the same safety labels on their App Store product page. But suppose an app does not have a product page in the Apple App store because it is there, by default, and cannot be removed like the Message App, the privacy label will be available on the web. Hence every software on App Store will have an elaborate privacy label on the web.

Apple has categorized data collection in several parts, including the “data used to track you”, “data not linked to you” and “data linked to you” to structure the privacy labels. Data used to track you refers to the developers using data collected from your device such as location data, data from other companies’ apps or websites for targeted advertising, personal information and using it in the app. The term tracking is used to mean sharing user information with data brokers.

For the second category, “Data linked to you” in the privacy label, the information clarifies if data types like browsing history, location data are not being linked to you in any identifiable fashion. “Data linked to you” on the other hand is any data that can be used to identify you which includes any details derived from using the app, having an account with the services the app provides or any data pulled by the device to create a profile for advertising purposes.

Apple also intends to roll another privacy feature with the launch of iOS 14 in which apps have to ask permission of users to track the iOS device users across apps and websites using Identification for Advertisers code, a unique device identifier. Although it was earlier planned to launch the feature in September it has been pushed back to help developers first adjust with the new privacy norms first.

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