Apple rolls out privacy 'nutrition labels' on apps

In a big push toward data transparency, Apple will now display a summary of an app's privacy practices before a user downloads it from the App Store.T...

Posted: Dec 15, 2020 9:28 AM

In a big push toward data transparency, Apple will now display a summary of an app's privacy practices before a user downloads it from the App Store.

The company began rolling out new labels on Monday that will explain what kind of user data is collected and shared for each app, from financial and location information to browsing and purchase history. Labels will be added to more apps in the days ahead.

Teased at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple likened the feature to a nutrition label. "For food, we have nutrition labels. You can see if it's packed with protein, loaded with sugar or maybe both -- all before you buy it," said Erik Neuenschwander, director of user privacy, at the time. "So we thought it would be great to have something similar for apps."

Developers were previously required to have a privacy policy and link it to their App Store product page, but the new labels will package them into a more digestible, visual format. They'll be displayed near reviews and details about in-app purchases.

The label itself features three main sections: "data used to track you," such as information collected for advertising purposes; "data linked to you," or the data tied to a user's identity through their account on the app, device, or other details; and "data not linked to you," which is data collected but not linked to an account.

Apple said the effort is intended to make it easier for people to understand when data is being accessed or shared, so users will be less surprised to learn later what's been collected. But some questions remain about the implementation.

Last month, Apple sent a questionnaire to developers inquiring about its data collection practices. Developers who haven't yet completed it will not be able to update their existing apps until they do so, according to the company. If data collection practices change after the information is provided, they'll be required to resubmit the questionnaire.

It's unclear as of now how often developers must self report and how Apple is overseeing the large number of responses. Apple did not immediately respond to a question on this matter.

"Self-reporting can be a slippery slope, and this is where Apple has to be transparent, at least contractually, in what it is asking developers to do and the ramifications thereafter," said Ramon Llamas, research director of market intelligence firm IDC.

Apple may need to enforce the policies with stricter consequences than not being able to push an app update, he said. "For consumers, consider what happens if their favorite app is taken down, even temporarily. That erodes trust in the app and the developer, and makes looking for alternative apps a more viable option."

Labels are the latest example of Apple trying to position itself as a defender of user privacy, with moves and statements that sometimes put it in conflict with other large tech companies. Last week, Facebook-owned WhatsApp said in a statement to Axios that Apple's labels should be "consistent across first and third party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people's private."

Apple told CNN Business the new label requirement also applies to pre-installed apps, such as iMessage, the camera and clock function. Labels for these apps will live on Apple.com since they're not available in the App Store.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2362682

Reported Deaths: 54846
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31550210709
Queens30350010134
Suffolk2253653502
Nassau2050193243
Bronx2006696685
New York1599194598
Westchester1400252327
Erie980631875
Richmond849681901
Monroe771961151
Orange54045887
Rockland50441767
Onondaga45101704
Dutchess33437483
Albany28073368
Oneida25360538
Niagara21881382
Broome21369381
Saratoga18186185
Ulster16145270
Schenectady15071214
Rensselaer13084154
Putnam1170595
Chautauqua10622154
Oswego9402100
Chemung8837142
St. Lawrence8646115
Ontario840595
Steuben8179155
Cayuga7760100
Sullivan771780
Jefferson728571
Wayne680477
Cattaraugus662296
Genesee5959126
Herkimer5905115
Tompkins579559
Clinton546434
Madison530296
Fulton520497
Livingston510264
Montgomery4978133
Cortland472769
Warren460276
Columbia4558107
Tioga434466
Chenango411285
Otsego411050
Allegany394692
Greene387682
Wyoming386854
Washington383761
Orleans356683
Franklin337615
Lewis312336
Delaware299040
Seneca242258
Schoharie204120
Essex191429
Yates137126
Schuyler125316
Hamilton4043
Unassigned13031
Out of NY0285
Utica
Mostly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Old Forge
Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Follow the 2021 Go the Distance Team - sponsored by Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy
Chapter Photofacial Therapy Giveaway
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve