Apple Tightens Its App Stores, Mandates All Apps to Have a Privacy Policy

After the European Union’s stricter GDPR rules and numerous data breaches at other tech companies, Apple mandates all apps to have a privacy policy by October 3rd and thus, tautens its App Store.

Apple Tightens Its App Stores, Mandates All Apps to Have a Privacy Polic...
Apple Mandates All Apps To Have A Privacy Policy

Apple geared up to crack down on apps that don’t interact with the users regarding the usage of their personal data if it is being shared or secured. In its announcement posted through the App Store Connect portal, Apple made it crystal clear to the developers that all apps, including the ones that are still in testing, should compulsorily include a privacy policy as of October 3, 2018.

Allowing apps privacy policies is a kind of an obvious hole that Apple should have plugged long before, citing its by and large protective nature over user data. The change gets all the more critical as the European Union’s GDPR regulations have already gone into effect.

Although the app makers themselves will be held as ultimately responsible for the mishandling of the customer’s data, Apple, as the platform where those apps are compered, has an equal responsibility too.

Platforms too are being held liable for the data misuse that may take place as a result of their own lax policies regarding those apps and the behavior of these apps.

For instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was trawled before the U.S. Senate regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook apps inappropriately obtained personal data of 87 million Facebook users.

Therefore, Apple’s new obligation endows company with a layer of protection – any app that skips the mandated rule will be held accountable by way of its own privacy policy and statements it contains.

Apple further noted that privacy policy’s text or link cannot be changed until and unless the developer submits a new version that complies with the updated policy of Apple. Still, there is a bit of loophole here. In case the developers add a link steering to an external webpage, at any time they can change what the webpage says after their app is approved.

Apple says, “The new policy will be required for all apps and app updates across the App Store as well as through the TestFlight testing platform as of October 3.”

There are still some uncertainties like is Apple itself reviewing all the privacy policy as a part of this change, with the intention of rejecting apps with questionable user protection or data use policies. In case if it does, App Store review times could increase only if the company appoints more staff.

Prior to this, Apple has already taken a stand against the apps that it finds questionable, for instance, Facebook’s data extracting VPN app Onavo, which got kicked out of the App Store earlier in August. The app had been live for ages, nonetheless, Onavo’s App Store text confirmed the data disclosure with Facebook. The verity that Apple only struck it tends to indicate that it will take a strict measurement against apps that are designed to extract user data a part of their primary function to move ahead.