Apple begins application of data privacy labels to apps

The Apple Inc. logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S.

Apple Inc on Monday said it had begun the rollout of new labels about the privacy practices of apps for users to see before they are downloaded from its App Store.

Apple announced the labels, which seek to quickly convey information about several categories of data collection and somewhat resemble the nutrition labels on food products, at a developer conference in June. It started requiring developers to provide information for the labels last week as part of the review process for releasing or updating apps.

The labels will be introduced over time as developers submit their apps for approval to Apple, and users will see them before downloading or update an app. Apple will require disclosures of when apps gather data for what it deems “tracking” of users across unrelated apps or websites.

Developers will be able to offer explanations for the data collection, but users will have to click through two sets of links to see the explanation. Developers are responsible for the accuracy of the information, but Apple said compliance will be checked during the app review process, during random audits and in response to complaints.

The labels are part of a broader set of changes Apple rolled out this year to introduce more notifications and permission requirements for data collection on its devices.

A requirement for new notifications to users before any use of a digital advertising identifier prompted an outcry from companies such as Facebook Inc. Many digital advertisers said users would likely decline to have their data collected because of the new notification rule.

The rule was set to go into effect this year, but Apple said it would delay implementation until early 2021 to give developers more time to make changes to their apps.

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