Apple launches privacy labels on App Stores.

What are they: Every app page on the iOS App Store will now have a section about what data it collects about you. This is what Apple calls privacy labels, inspired from nutrition labels.

Backstory: Apple announced it back in June during the WWDC. Last month, Apple forced developers to provide this information by Dec 8 or risk losing the ability to update their apps.

How it works: Developers fill out all data their app collects, grouped into 3 categories:

  • “data used to track you” = data from this app which is linked with another data from another company used for targeting ads. Like: personal information, location data etc.
  • “data linked to you” = data which used to identify you, linked to your account on the app and your ad profile
  • “data not linked to you” = data which is not linked to you in any identifiable fashion. Like: data collected for optimising the app.

There are some problems:

  • Some developers fear that these labels are too broad and can make users think their apps tracks more data than they actually do.
  • Specifically, WhatsApp argues that, although it cannot see people’s messages and precise location, they’ve to use the same labels as apps that do.
  • Apple’s own apps, like Messages, also have their own privacy labels. But since these apps cannot be deleted, their privacy labels are available only on the web. Not on the App Store.

You should read: Ben Thompson’s Privacy Labels and Look-alike audiences.

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