back to article Apple's app transparency rules: Google's privacy labels for Chrome and Search on iOS highlighted by DuckDuckGo

Google's Apple-mandated privacy labels for its Chrome and Search apps on iOS have drawn criticism from tiny search rival DuckDuckGo, which tweeted "no wonder they wanted to hide it." Apple now requires all App Store developers to label their apps to inform users of what data they collect. This has been mandatory since December …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    And that would be one reason why

    I have deleted everything Google from all my systems, Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux. Actually I did that years ago. And by ‘everything Google’ I mean to include Gmail, Maps, Waze, Google Earth…

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: And that would be one reason why

      I did the same. Don't miss them. Haven't looked back. Ditto for Facebook.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: And that would be one reason why

      I would love to, but I can't. Apple devices suck galaxies through a millipore filter, and there isn't much of anything else.

      I also need Google Maps because if you sent me into a 2-acre wood, in a week you'd have to send in a rescue party.

      I have, however, abandoned Google Mail and pay for a mail provider, so tomorrow if my Google account crapped out for whatever reason (entirely possible) I'd just have to create a new account.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: And that would be one reason why

        OpenStreetMap may not be comprehensive, but it's accurate enough on the whole to get you out of a wood, and there are other options such as streetmap.co.uk who even have OS mapping. Talking of OS mapping, there's always the OS itself which has some stuff available for free, or you can subscribe or redeem a code when you buy a paper map.

        OSM only needs Javascript from OSM allowed and the other two sites I have mentioned can have some/all JS from Google blocked and still work correctly.

        Google (in the UK at anyrate, and I'd imagine elsewhere too) is not the only option.

        M.

        1. Confuciousmobil

          Re: And that would be one reason why

          None are as good as Google Maps which is pretty amasing.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: And that would be one reason why

            Being top quality is one saving grace for google, offering those map resources in exchange for your soul.

            Docs are also good, but what is also unsurpassed and offered as part of the deal with the devil is their junk Mail filters. Absolutely uncanny levels of correct discrimination compared to anyone else. I guess thanks to their massive user base and wealth of machine learning resource.

            When cleansing the W orld of toxic infiltrators, Faecebook is the abyss, the nadir the absolute scum pit. It’s not even very good.

          2. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: And that would be one reason why

            Realising you might not actually be in the UK, but for most of the purposes for which I need an accurate map, nothing - absolutely nothing - beats the Ordnance Survey. Then again, I'm a bit of a paper map fanboi...

            M.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using Google and Privacy

    in the same sentence has got to be the ultimate example of an oxymoron.

    Oops, am I allowed to use the word oxymoron anymore? This may upset the non-oxygen breathers among us. Sorry.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news the sea is salty!

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Google's massive privacy policy.

    Last Time I checked, the latest version ("Effective 30 September 2020") was over 8,000 words long and presented in a way that prevents data subjects identifying which rights they can exercise (like most other "privacy policies" out there).

    However the scariest "privacy policy" I've encountered was 36,000 words long, so there's plenty of scope for further work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google's massive privacy policy.

      I think to save bandwidth and the enviroment perhaps they should just show what data Google DOES NOT collect.

      1. RM Myers Silver badge
        Unhappy

        ...what data Google DOES NOT collect.

        In mathematics, that is commonly referred to as the "empty set".

        1. sev.monster Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Re: ...what data Google DOES NOT collect.

          "...And if we look here at the union of the set of data Google currently has, and the set describing all the potential data they can collect, you can see it contains the entire frickin' universe."

  5. Ozan

    I stopped using google and switched to duckduckgo 11 years ago. IT was fin search engine and now duckduckgo is wonderful search engine. Meanwhile, google search got worse and worse.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      DuckDuckGo does not do much, it’s no more than a paper bag on a streakers head.

      I am now absolved but I did work a number of years for a direct marketer and your DuckDuckGo is a shield of wet tissue paper.

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge

        Care to clarify or quantify any of those statements?

        I know DDG isn't perfect and the leadership can be questionable at times, but it's still more trustworthy than Google.

  6. Marty McFly Bronze badge
    Go

    Now on to presearch.org

    Beyond duckduckgo... Check out presearch.org. Private & decentralized. Block chain based.

    1. JDPower Bronze badge

      Re: Now on to presearch.org

      Ooh, a block chain search engine, I'm nearly sold. If only it had AI and cloud too

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Now on to presearch.org

      A new front end to Bing, now with blockchain!

    3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Now on to presearch.org

      If it is not tracking and storing my information why does it need to use a block chain?

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge

        Re: Now on to presearch.org

        It appears to pay out in a new Etherium crypto in exchange for people running search proxy nodes.

        Just Searx with extra steps, but I guess it's a nice incentive.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Google is the least of Apple's worries

    To quote a /. article

    "Some of China's biggest technology companies, including ByteDance and Tencent are testing a tool to bypass Apple's new privacy rules."

    Good luck kicking them out of the App Store, Tim Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google is the least of Apple's worries

      Why would they have trouble kicking them out? Doesn't the contract say that attempting to violate the rules is a violation?

      Or do you mean it will be hard for them to find apps that use the bypass tool?

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Google is the least of Apple's worries

        Kicking out all the biggest most popular apps in China (the ones coming together on this new Chinese tracking standard), some of which are government supported, would probably lead to a much bigger fight.

        I could see some type of compromise where they allow this China specific tracking for apps downloaded from their Chinese app store only. With how closely tied China's technology companies and the government are, there wouldn't be much choice.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Google is the least of Apple's worries

      Try reading the article in future, then you won't sound like such a clueless moron.

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Google is the least of Apple's worries

      "To quote a /. article"

      Well, there's your first problem. There are lies, damn lies, and Slashdot.

    4. sev.monster Bronze badge

      Re: Google is the least of Apple's worries

      Why are you quoting Slashdot when there is an article talking about that very issue here on our Lord's Register? You some kind of evildoer? Perhaps a ne'er-do-well?

  8. alain williams Silver badge

    The privacy labels are for the updated Chrome

    who knows what they slurped before ? Have Google spent between 8 Dec & now removing some of the more egregious stuff that they were taking ?

    Does Apple/anyone verify what Google says that it takes ?

    1. JDPower Bronze badge

      Re: The privacy labels are for the updated Chrome

      Exactly. This is the amount of privacy invasion they're admitting to after having spent months reducing it. This is what they think is a more palatable amount to admit to!

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: The privacy labels are for the updated Chrome

        <cynic> Or they added a bunch of stuff to cover what they're really interested in. People will look at that huge long list and freak out. They'll roll out an update with fewer things listed and make out like they're the good guys, they listen, don't be evil, blah blah. </cynic>

  9. Tron

    Reading this comment infers an acceptance of my terms and conditions.

    There is quite a lot of paranoia here. Are you guys a bunch of secret agents or something?

    I don't like Google's insistent inclusion of Googlecrap on my Android phone, updating every three days. So I block auto updates and just update the others every now and again. GoogleMaps is a fabulous piece of tech, Translate works just about well enough to be useful, I love YouTube, Gmail is reliable enough, and Google Search, for all its faults and its vastly reduced scope nowadays, is still better than Bing.

    In short, I use the stuff I need or like to use. In return, they want to track me or analyse what I do. Go ahead. Knock yourselves out. Be my guest. Cheap at the price. I'd much rather they did that than charged me real money.

    Google have been hoovering up our data for decades and their AI-directed marketing, which is based on it, is as rubbish as it was on Day 1. I don't think I've ever seen an online advert in all these years that I've felt the slightest desire to click on. If people pay Google for that stuff, that's their business.

    One minor concern is that Google has built a surveillance state infrastructure that the Stasi would have surrendered a kidney for, in the pursuit of profit. Nation states will appropriate or have already appropriated this data.

    But then I expect our governments to be spying on us, one way or another. Most like at the OS level. They are paranoid control freaks. It's what governments have always done and always will, regardless of any privacy laws. Again, that's not really a problem for me. Knock yourselves out, guys. Nothing I surf to gives them leverage over me. My only gripe is that I would consider spying on me to be a waste of the money I pay in taxes.

    I'd certainly rather be spied on doing stuff online than just blocked from doing it, which will be their 'Plan B'.

    And however much spying a government does, if people really want to remove it, they will.

    I consider the benefits of free access to the Google software that I use to outweigh any tin-foil-hat desire to keep my surfing secret from them.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Reading this comment infers an acceptance of my terms and conditions.

      I didn't downvote, but I do have a thought. Some people, such as yourself, may be okay with what Google gets up to.

      I'm not. Not because I'm worried about privacy, but because I am supposed to have the right to access data held on me, rectify errors, and request deletion.

      All this tracking and profiling happens in the background. You don't have access to any of it (the stuff Google deigns to admit to is, if you read it, pretty useless for making any sort of targeted advertising). Given that others can use your machine and/or following a dumb link sent to you as a joke by a friend might get noticed, I would imagine there are many errors in the assumptions made. And, of course, you don't get to say "delete everything you have on me". They might delete the stuff with your name showing, but the other things that use machine identifiers? Well, that's anonymous blah blah bullshit bullshit.

      They are collecting all sorts of (potentially incorrect) information on YOU to sell to others to make themselves money, and they see no reason to involve you in any way other than "the target". Given how ubiquitous the likes of doubleclick and analytics are, the information that isn't flat out wrong is probably scarily accurate. Right down to political affiliation, hobbies, education level, income, location (home, office, you right now), and general state of health (have you ever Googled a symptom?)... things that you might just not really want to have regurgitated on demand to whoever is willing to pay.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Reading this comment infers an acceptance of my terms and conditions.

      I guess it has been a long time.

      It is 75 years since a democratically elected government, in a major Western country, murdered 6 million people for their religious beliefs, their racial ancestry and their sexual practices.

      It is even over 30 years since half of Europe was locked down by totalitarian governments so that even expressing dissent was a serious crime and almost everyone was continuously informing on their neighbours.

      I dislike my privacy being violated: I dislike being charged higher prices because a company knows I am well off or that I particularly like their product; I dislike an insurance company being able to precisely target my elderly mother's premiums instead of spreading the risks and the costs amongst the population.

      But what I really care about is the privacy of other people! I need investigative journalists to discover and publicise abuse of power, I need my lawyer to be able to give me advice about confidential matters, I need my MP to be able to right wrongs done to me by public servants, I need my pressure group to be able to organise environmental protest action.

      Even if you have little need for privacy that has no bearing on whether others need it.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: Reading this comment infers an acceptance of my terms and conditions.

        The Nazis murdered 11 to 13 million in assorted camps, death and otherwise. 5-7 million were Jews. Gypsies, homosexuals, socialists, communists, and Slavs, particularly Russians, were the rest.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    exactly how it is used

    "Note that the fact data is listed does not tell you exactly how it is used. For that, users should consult Google's massive privacy policy."

    I don't even think a group of attorneys would be able to describe "exactly how it is used" if they were to read the massive privacy policy that nobody reads.

  11. Randy Hudson
    Alert

    They even track you “outside” their apps

    If you click on a URL in one of googles apps like YouTube, they ask how you want to open the link. If you pick “Safari”, they just show you an embedded web view widget so they can continue to track your browsing history

  12. Richard 36

    It seems to me that most people don't care that Google collects their data.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      That is probably true, although I think that "most people" have not even thought about it.

      What I want is to make sure that (i) this is very visible and obvious so people will at least think about it, and (ii) there are alternatives, which are private and have reasonably clear costs. I want people to make informed decisions.

      If they were told "you can use Google's services for free but they sell all your data to anyone who asks" or "you can buy this other phone over here that is just as good but costs £200 more but which keeps your data private" then they can make an informed choice.

      Most people would be happy to sell their data for the next 2 years for £200. Some would sell it for less. Others would not sell even for lots more. That is how the capitalist system should work. But today it doesn't because those prices are hidden and not subject to market forces.

  13. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    About Google's terms and privacy statements

    Allow me to refer you once again to this rather excellent Freefall cartoon as it absolutely nails what they are doing.

    You're welcome.

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