Apple Is Making All Apps Include a Privacy Policy

Illustration for article titled Apple Is Making All Apps Include a Privacy Policyem/em
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How our data is used—or rather, misused—has been a growing concern for the public. So it’s in tech companies’ best interest to signal to their users that they care about their privacy, and Apple has just taken a small step to put its users at ease.

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The tech giant announced to developers on Thursday that all new apps as well as app updates are required to have a privacy policy beginning October 3 of this year. This applies to apps submitted both through Apple’s App Store as well as TestFlight, a mobile app testing service owned by Apple. Apple’s announcement notes that the privacy policy link or text an only be edited when a developer submits the latest version of their app.

“Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem, and you should use care when handling personal data to ensure you’ve complied with privacy best practices, applicable laws and the terms of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement, not to mention customer expectations,” Apple states on its App Store Review Guidelines page.

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In the guidelines, Apple states that developers must “clearly and explicitly” inform users what data apps collect and how that data is used in their privacy policies, confirming if there are third parties that can access that data. Apple also states that apps that do collect data must ask for consent, and that apps “should only request access to data relevant to the core functionality of the app and should only collect and use data that is required to accomplish the relevant task.”

It’s certainly reassuring that Apple is now requiring developers to have a privacy policy, though it feels like a condition that should have been established long ago. And while it’s inarguably good to force developers to include privacy policies, it doesn’t mean they those are going to be easy to wrap your head around.

[9to5Mac]

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DISCUSSION

electricmango
Electric Mango

This is great, and a solid start, but I wish Apple would enforce some standard template within the apps as well. The data collections and storage within the App Store guidelines break things down into a relatively neat way. I’m all for having a full on legal-ese privacy policy if need be but it would be nice to enforce a tl/dr type that just lists the following 5 things:

- Identify what data the app collects

- Identify how the app collects the data

- Identify how the collected data is to be used

- Identify if data is shared with any third party service

- Identify the ways users can restrict or change the data that is collected

And use those headers.  Don’t try to get creative and mask what the app is doing... which I suppose would be the point for some developers.  I would think (hope) that for most apps, this would be sufficient to cover what you need in terms of a privacy policy. If not, expand as needed but this should serve as the base.