App Privacy Details on the App Store

Apple’s “Privacy Nutrition Labels” launched this week on the App Store. Apple’s own developer information about these disclosures is plainly written and explains what information they’re requiring from developers, and why. It’s worth going right to the source to know what Apple is requiring here, because the companies who are coming out of this looking bad are attempting to misdirect attention.

To see them in action, just go to any app’s listing and scroll down a bit, and you can’t miss them. View the details for apps that respect your privacy and you’ll see a concise listing. View the details for apps that don’t — like, say, Instagram or Facebook — and you’ll get screen after screen showing just how much information about you they collect. Instagram and Facebook’s app privacy listings look like those crazy-long receipts from CVS. Seriously, that’s not an exaggeration — a single screenshot can’t capture it, you need to make a movie to see how long you have to scroll to see it all.

Most apps I’ve checked have already provided the necessary information. But some haven’t — they’ll be required to upon next submitting an app update, though. Among the apps with no information yet provided: the “Official Trump 2020 App” — an app that was exposed earlier this year as so privacy invasive that MIT Technology Review described it as “a voter surveillance tool of extraordinary power”.

Also with no information yet provided: any of Google’s apps. Not a good look.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020