Apps on all of Apple’s app stores will now have to show much more detail about what data they collect and what it is used for. From 14 December developers must show what information they gather, listed in terms of what is taken to track users and what is linked directly to them. However, the tech giant said it was not seeking to change publishers’ business models. Apple has included its own apps in the new rule. Location and contact information were two examples of data that app developers might take in order to track users and their activities, the firm said. It also said it would always display this information at the top, because it considered it to be of greatest interest to users. Other data such as health and fitness, financial information and search history, may be linked directly to an individual.
Full story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-55307293
This move by Apple is important because iOS 14 puts additional focus on user privacy, and in particular gives users better visibility into their personal information that is shared with 3rd parties. Users are more in control of their personal information. They can now decide on an app-by-app basis which will have access to personal data. Previously, iOS users only had the choice between sharing all their information when using apps, or declining to share and not having access to apps. Now Apple has created levers for users to more easily pick and choose the developers with which they share personal information.
The privacy changes in iOS 14 are part of an unstoppable trend to increase the protection of user privacy. This trend will not stop with tracking for advertisers. Developers that update their apps after December 8th, won’t have their apps approved unless they include this information. MacOS 10.15 Catalina kicked everyone out of the kernel, a privilege that endpoint security providers had since the beginning of desktop operating systems. With this move security vendors are now also limited in accessing user and system information, and must operate like any other app. Fighting this trend is like fight the ocean tides; you can\’t. You have to adapt to the trend and innovate or die. Mobile security providers innovated when they couldn\’t have kernel access and I am sure advertisers will find a way to innovate as well.
This requirement to disclose third-party data collection, and whether it’s used for tracking will make it easier for users to understand how apps use personal data. This format will clearly disclose the data used to track users across their other apps and websites. It will also disclose how data, like financial information, will be linked to other accounts, devices, or identities. Like nutrition labels in real life, the goal is to create a common, easily understandable format for users to see how their personal data is collected and used by developers and their partners. It will make it easier for users to question whether free services from developers are worth the cost in terms of privacy and security of their own data.