It is now mandatory for developers to submit their privacy practices alongside apps and updates.
It is now mandatory for developers to submit their privacy practices alongside apps and updates.

Apple's new 'nutrition labels' to satisfy transparency, user privacy

Dubai - Advanced techniques used to minimise amount of data that can be accessed by others

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 4:44 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 4:48 PM

Apple on Tuesday rolled out its new privacy labels on its App Stores as it pushes forward with its pledge to further enhance user privacy and security, and be even more transparent on how developers manage data.

The feature — dubbed as 'nutrition labels' — comes with the latest iOS 14.3 update. It is designed to inform users which data is being used to track and linked to a user, and is published in a manner that is easy to comprehend.

The move was first announced in the virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. Apple last week had already required developers submitting new apps or updates to them to include their privacy practices, but Tuesday marked the first time these have been published.

"Privacy is a fundamental human right. At Apple, it’s also one of our core values. Your devices are important to so many parts of your life," Apple said on its privacy microsite.

"What you share from those experiences, and who you share it with, should be up to you. We design Apple products to protect your privacy and give you control over your information. It’s not always easy. But that’s the kind of innovation we believe in."

The move covers all of Apple's platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and the labels are mandatory.

Apple and other Big Tech firms have been scrutinised for the way they allegedly handle user data. The iPhone-maker has long touted its security and privacy features, and the push for enhanced transparency was elevated several levels at the WWDC, an event showcasing the cooperation in the companies sprawling ecosystem.

"We've pushed all of our platforms forward in some amazing new ways," CEO Tim Cook said at the WWDC. "We've always drawn strength because we truly believe that when we all work together we can change the world for the better."

Your own choices

Apple uses "innovative technologies and techniques" to minimise the data anyone — Apple included — can access, software engineering senior vice-president Craig Federighi had said at the event.

"Security protections are foundational to everything we do in privacy."

Transparency and control, he added, helps users better understand the data being collected so that users can make their own choices on how that data is being used.

One distinctive feature Apple has created was 'Sign in with Apple'. It allows users to set up an account on a website or app — provided they support it — using their Apple ID. Sign in with Apple significantly

Apple apps have their own unique and sturdy security and privacy features. Web browser has Intelligent Tracking Prevention that makes it more difficult for companies to identify and track users, while Maps doesn't associate an Apple ID with anything, and even doesn't keep a record of locations you've been.

Apple Pay and Wallet doesn't store card numbers nor are they shared with third parties, while records on Health are only accessible with a user's security unlock access. Even Photos is designed in a manner that media doesn't leave a device — no matter what — unless a user has shared it.

Apple says this is the beginning of an innovative new programme to help users have more transparency and understanding about what data apps may gather about users.

It added that it firmly believes that all developers' data collection and use practices should be transparent, so users can make informed decisions.


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