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'I Checked Apple's New Privacy Nutrition Labels. Many Were False.'

Sunday February 7, 2021. 03:40 AM , from Slashdot/Apple
Long-time Slashdot reader Futurepower(R) shared this investigation from the Washington Post's technology writer:

When I spot-checked what a couple dozen apps claim about privacy in the App Store, I found more than a dozen that were either misleading or flat-out inaccurate...

Apple's big privacy product is built on a shaky foundation: the honor system. In tiny print on the detail page of each app label, Apple says, 'This information has not been verified by Apple.' The first time I read that, I did a double take. Apple, which says caring for our privacy is a 'core responsibility,' surely knows devil-may-care data harvesters can't be counted on to act honorably...

About 1 in 3 of the apps I checked that claimed they took no data appeared to be inaccurate... If a journalist and a talented geek could find so many problems just by kicking over a few stones, why isn't Apple? Even after I sent it a list of dubious apps, Apple wouldn't answer my specific questions, including: How many bad apps has it caught? If being inaccurate means you get the boot, why are some of the ones I flagged still available?

Putting aside the deception, there's another question: Are Apple's labels even helpful...? Nowhere on any of Apple's privacy labels, in fact, do we learn with whom apps are sharing our data. Imagine if nutrition facts labels left off the whole section about ingredients.
Irony alert, there's a tech giant that is more transparent: Facebook. With a setting called 'off-Facebook activity' that it launched in 2020, you can actually see all the different apps and websites that are feeding your data to Facebook and ask the social network to stop using the data to target you with ads.

Finally, the article notes that apps from some major companies — including Google — 'have yet to even post labels.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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