back to article Apple wants privacy 'nutrition labels' on all new and updated apps in its software store from next month

Apple on Thursday advised developers they need to clarify the privacy practices of apps distributed through its App Store, a requirement previewed earlier this year. The iPhone maker said software makers can now start creating standardized summaries, via its App Store Connect interface, that clearly define to users what kinds …

  1. Tomato42

    Oh, and will it inform users about the Apple Ad network?

    1. shah27

      Don't be silly, this is for Apple to demand all information that users give up to use app's must be shared with Apple for free.

  2. Giles C Silver badge

    For some apps it will just read your device belongs to us.... (f book)

    This sort of privacy information is really needed, although what bugs me are the apps (mostly games) that bombard you with adverts and don’t give you an option to buy an add free version.

    If an app is useful to me then I will pay for the no advert option

    1. Jurassic Hermit

      And not just games apps. I recently discovered the navigation app ViaMichelin and there are the ads at the bottom of most screens which are easily accidentally presed on a 4.7" screen.

      I searched for an ad-free paid version and there's none available. So I contacted ViaMichelin and they told me they'd pass on the suggestion to the developers...I wonder who they are and why they rely only on ads.

      I guess I'll get to see their data disclosure shortly and possibly will be alarmed by it. Something Apple are getting right at least.

    2. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Ahhh, but the ad free version is a one off purchase.

      Ad revenue (or a subscription service) trickles in for as long as you use the app.

      Which one of those is the developer more motivated to continue support for?

      See also: Adobe creative suite, Office etc

  3. Korev Silver badge
    Pint

    A Virtual Pint for carbo-spy-drates -->

  4. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
    Trollface

    What about Apple applications?

    Will we see also their score?

    Oh, I forgot, they are preinstalled, you can't uninstall them, and not made available through the store...

    I'll wait for the Microsoft ones then.

  5. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Loopholes you can drive a truck through

    > if collection is infrequent, unrelated to the app's primary function

    So, if some game collects your contacts and call history (unrelated to its primary function), it doesn't have to say so? If some app only uploads your private data once a week (infrequent), it doesn't have to tell it?

    That will be a relief to those app makers so compulsively honest they can't just simply not say what information their app is collecting...

    1. Jurassic Hermit

      Re: Loopholes you can drive a truck through

      On iOS an app can't explicitly grab your contacts without you getting a prompt to allow it.

      When I used Android for donkeys years there was no such ability to restrict, but I gather it may be better in very recent versions.

      At the end of the day, I'm not enthralled by any tech giant, but I tend to trust a device maker with my privacy slightly more than I do a data-slurping-behemoth whose sole purpose for its existence is to slurp data in a behemoth manner.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Loopholes you can drive a truck through

        > On iOS an app can't explicitly grab your contacts

        All right, I stand corrected, bad example. But there is surely something of value they can grab, else this whole announcement would be pointless. If iOS alerts you each time some app wants to sift through your stuff there would be no point in this whole debate, would it.

        .

        > I tend to trust a device maker with my privacy slightly more than I do a data-slurping-behemoth

        While you're of course right, on a purely theoretical level, I'm sorry to say there are only data slurping behemoths left these days. The industry's (any industry's) battle cry is "No cow will go unmilked".

        That been said, the point here are the external apps, not the OS itself. The stores try to check the apps, but we've a long list of instances where bad stuff got through, especially since the frontier between acceptable and not acceptable is fuzzy. I guess the iOS store faces the same difficulties as the Google Play Store keeping its contents safe to use, else, once again, this whole announcement would be pointless.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Loopholes you can drive a truck through

        Go on... say it... You are talking about GOOGLE.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Loopholes you can drive a truck through

          No, its disciples.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Loopholes you can drive a truck through

      It seemed the reverse of what you want. If the collection is for the primary purpose of the app, you can probably infer it happens (and probably don't mind); for example, an app that's going to show you local beauty spots needs your location. All you want is reassurance it isn't logged on servers or shared with "partners". It when a trumpet simulator decides to take your location that you want to know.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Naughty advertising SDK's

    The advertising SDK embedded in an app that came pre-installed on some Android phones has code to record using the devices Microphone, access the devices Clipboard and access the devices Text-to-Speech functions.

    Ironically, the app is supposed to protect the users privacy and security.

    82caa03c3b533a2ddce4905b1a3a7a7b

  7. RobHib
    Angel

    Bright flashing red and yellow striped icons needed!

    I've monitored the amount of user data many of those apps send home and often it's considerably more than the foreground channel. I'd suggest some are so bad the only appropriate way to warn uses would be to alternately flash/flicker the program's icon with another one that consists of bright red and yellow stripes (perhaps every time user metadata is sent it could flicker madly).

    That said, Android apps are generally much worse than Apple's. There's one consolation though with Android, if you've a rooted phone you can nuke an app's ability to use its internal broadcast/receive messages subsystem—that's the app's hidden signaling system that tells it to listen/wake and broadcast home, etc. That's achieved by tampering with (nuking parts) of the program's manifest data that contains the 'what-to-do' instructions.

    It's an amazing experience to watch one's network logger fall silent after one's nuked all the call-home infrastructure on one's phone. Up goes the battery life too.

  8. msobkow Bronze badge

    I'd like the world to just mandate that lawyers are no longer allowed to write the user agreements; they are now REQUIRED to be in "plain English" and no more than 100 lines of text.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      "You hereby agree to henceforth be our bitch, and grant us a perpetual right to do to you, to your family, to your friends and to your belongings anything we deem either necessary, useful, or amusing, with absolutely no regard to potential harm done to you, your family, your friends or your belongings."

      See, it takes much less than 100 lines.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      I propose we get people to follow an adapted version of the Just A Minute rules

      Any user agreement must (when read out loud) contain no hesitation, deviation or repetition, and must take 1 minute or less to read.

    3. Boothy Silver badge

      Quote: "and no more than 100 lines of text"

      You need to make it word count, rather than lines, otherwise they'll just define a line as being as long as they need it to be, in order to fit their text in!

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        I imagine one line is all it takes. Just pass it through the legal minifier.

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    This will casue more lawsuits and gnashing of teeth

    from the likes of Zuckfart and Ogle.

    Well Apple for as Cpl Jones would say,"'They don't like it up 'em"

    Well good. The more pain that they (Google, Facebook etc) get the better.

    Hey Zuck. Suck this [see icon]

  10. Robert Grant Silver badge

    carbo-spy-drates

    Standing ovation. Overwhelming emotion at the sustained roar of applause.

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