A U.S. House committee has asked Apple about the credibility and accuracy of its latest app privacy feature. The feature requires developers to supply information about an app’s privacy practices on submitting new apps and app updates to the App Store.
Simplifying and enhancing privacy disclosures may be a laudable goal, but consumer trust in privacy labeling approaches could also be undermined if Apple’s App Privacy labels disseminate false and misleading information the House wrote during a letter to Apple chief Tim Cook.
The committee’s letter accuses Apple of not verifying the accuracy of the privacy information independently and mentions recent reports that complained about the labels being highly misleading or blatantly false. It believes false privacy labels may dupe privacy-conscious consumers into downloading data-intensive apps, eroding the credibility of the labels.
A PRIVACY LABEL IS NOT ANY PROTECTION IF IT’S FALSE, THE LETTER SAID.
The committee has asked Apple to supply a written response to some queries by February 23, 2021. The Cupertino-based company must detail the method through which it audits the privacy information provided by the app developers. It must reveal the number of apps it audited since the implementation of the labeling policy, and the way many had misleading information.
The iPhone maker has also been asked to detail its enforcement policies when an app fails to supply accurate privacy information. it’s to answer how quickly it corrected an app privacy label after it found inaccurate or misleading information with it. Apple also will get to clarify whether it conducts stringent oversight of apps targeted at children under 13, and describe actions taken. The committee has urged Apple to enhance the validity of its app privacy labels to supply meaningful information about apps’ data practices.