U.S. House committee chairs urge Apple to improve accuracy of App Store privacy labels

A U.S. House committee recently sent a letter to Apple inquiring about the accuracy of the privacy labels on the App Store. The letter, sent by the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Tuesday, was prompted by a January story from The Washington Post that found over a dozen apps with inaccurate privacy “nutrition labels.”

Apple rolled out the feature in December 2020 and has made it mandatory that all new apps and app updates must post app nutrition labels. Though Apple routinely reviews the privacy “nutrition labels” and works with developers to correct false or misleading information, the information is entirely self-reported by developers and may be inaccurate.

App Store Privacy Labels

U.S. House committee pens letter to Apple regarding its inaccurate app privacy labels

“A privacy label is no protection if it is false,” the letter reads. “We urge Apple to improve the validity of its App Privacy labels to ensure consumers are provided meaningful information about their apps’ data practices and that consumers are not harmed by these potentially deceptive practices.”

The committee has also asked Apple to provide the following details on its App Privacy system.

  • Details on the process by which Apple audits the privacy information provided by app developers and how frequently audits are conducted;
  • How many of the apps audited since the implementation of the App Privacy label were found to have provided inaccurate or misleading information;
  • Whether Apple ensures that App Privacy labels are corrected upon the discovery of inaccuracies or misleading information; and
  • Details regarding Apple’s enforcement policies when an app fails to provide accurate privacy information for the App Privacy label.App Store Privacy Labels

“Simplifying and enhancing privacy disclosures is a laudable goal,” the congresspeople wrote, “but consumer trust in privacy labeling approaches may be undermined if Apple’s App Privacy labels disseminate false and misleading information.”

The committee asks that the tech giant send the requested information by February 23, 2021. So, Apple has two weeks to respond to the queries.

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Mobile gaming editor for iThinkDifferent