What you need to know
- Spot checks of the App Store's privacy labels found that far too many aren't telling the truth.
Apple recently added privacy labels to the App Store to force developers to disclose the kinds of data their apps collected and what they used it for. On the face of it, that's pretty great and should give us all more confidence in the apps that we're using. But according to a new report, they might not be worth much.
According to The Washington Post, a number of apps are outright lying to us. A "couple dozen apps" were apparently checked to make sure that the privacy labels were accurate but more than half of them were far from it.
While de-stressing app Satisfying Slime Simulator is one app that turned out to be sharing information with Facebook despite saying it didn't, it was far from the only one.
The issue stems from the fact that developers are left to self-report – and if they lie or are just plain wrong, there's a good chance nobody will notice. And that's less than ideal.
In fact, it's so bad that there's an argument to be made that incorrect labels are worse than not having labels at all. But whether Apple can properly police these things is another matter.
Apple says that it conducts audits, although we don't know how many or how rigorous.
Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.
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