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Apple enforces new rigid app privacy requirements

From now on, developers will have to be fair and square about their privacy practices when submitting new apps or updates to Apple’s App Store.

Apple has made a bold move to pull the plug on app makers’ privacy foul play. The new rules now in effect require that every developer provides a clear-cut summary of what types of data their products collect. This is expected to raise users’ awareness of the potential privacy roadblocks they may hit down the road when using a particular application. Each product page across Apple’s official app marketplaces for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS will include an “App Privacy” section that will lay out clearly what information is being collected and handled by the author and third-party partners.

App privacy labels to complement App Store product descriptions

The three categories listed there are as follows:

  • Data Used to Track You
  • Data Linked to You
  • Data Not Linked to You.

This rundown is supposed to let users know whether the app collects their names, phone numbers, email addresses, location, payment, and health data. Combined with less sensitive data such as the browsing history, app usage information, diagnostics reports, and privacy principles of third parties whose code is embedded into the app, this multitude of information can play into advertisers’ hands while putting users’ digital well-being at risk.

Developers will need to outline their privacy workflows when submitting new apps and app updates. While Apple will trust software authors in this regard at the early stage of the new policy implementation, it reserves the right to check whether this information is correct. If a deviation is found or reported by users, the product may end up being delisted from the App Store.

This overhaul of the data collection rules co-occurred with the tech giant’s privacy policy update that fits the context of greater compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This tweak extends the definition of personal data as viewed by Apple, emphasizing that even if the info doesn’t directly identify an individual but can be linked to them, it will be treated as personal data and protected accordingly.


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