When Apple announced the requirement for apps to be transparent about their privacy implications, I nodded in agreement and never gave it a further thought. Of course they should let users know what is being tracked and the information being used. In fact, the surprising part is that it’s taken until now for something so obviously Apple to be introduced.
It is one of those “of course they should do that” moments for people that follow along with Apple, but will it actually mean a lot to the end user? This is a hard question to answer. While average users are definitely becoming more aware of the issues surrounding some companies, look at the uproar directed towards a fairly mundane policy update for WhatsApp. Users are still using Facebook in their billions despite all of the issues surrounding them during the last few years.
So, silly me, was expecting a clear and concise sum up of the app you are looking to download. For it to be displayed clearly. Allowing the user to know exactly what they are going to install on their phone.
What we actually got feels like a token gesture to use as a signal to their customers they are fighting for you. Yet it is buried away at the bottom of the listing, underneath the rest of the information that no body reads. They might as well have put it in the terms and conditions of their devices because it stands about as much chance of being read.
This half step, which took an age to make, is frankly pretty pointless. I struggle to understand why the big companies kicked off so much in the first place. Most of them have been allowed to get away with pretty much whatever they like anyway. Remember Facebook playing silent audio because of a ‘bug’? Or using enterprise certificates to get more data on users, with very little recourse. Remember Uber tracking the hell out of pretty much every iOS user? Apple clearly needed to make a change, but this pathetic attempt is more PR than a privacy upgrade.
Perhaps I am missing something, perhaps there is more going on behind closed doors and we are getting a privacy upgrade, but these labels will make pretty much zero difference, and I can’t understand why it stopped Google updating it’s apps at all.