Apple: Developers must disclose data collection from apps

From autumn, apps for iPhones, iPads and Macs will have to show in detail which user and device data they collect and for what purpose. Instead of burying this information in the elongated text desert of classic data protection declarations, the information on each app should clearly appear in the App Store – similar to nutrition labels for food.

App providers and developers must collect the insight into their data collection practice themselves and ensure that it is correct and up-to-date, as Apple announced. The information is mandatory and will be sent to the iPhone manufacturer soon. Developers not only have to list which data their own code accesses, but also possibly embedded third-party code – including SDKs from analysis tools and advertising providers such as Facebook and Google.

The app data protection details are intended to record which data the app collects and transmits to the developer or third parties. Apple asks, among other things, whether the name and address information of users is collected, whether the programs want to access health, fitness, payment and location data and whether they are also interested in “sensitive information”, such as sexual orientation , political opinions, or pregnancy information. A collection of usage and diagnostic data must also be mentioned.

Developers also need to specify what the data collection is used for, such as personalizing an app or advertising. In addition, Apple wants to know whether an individual user can be traced back from the data and whether tracking takes place – that is, a link between data or a profile creation for advertising purposes.

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It remains unclear for the time being whether Apple will check the submitted information individually or react only in the event of a complaint. The details on data access are part of the data protection and functional innovations planned for iOS 14, which should make clandestine user tracking more difficult. However, following complaints from the advertising industry, Apple plans to postpone the introduction of a core component, a general opt-in for advertising tracking, to 2021.


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