Apple now requires app developers to inform users about the information they collect in the form of ‘nutrition labels’ on the App Store. However, not all app developers are happy about the new requirement. The most recent platform to criticize Apple’s privacy policies is Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Though WhatsApp has submitted all the required information needed to keep the app in the App Store, in a statement to Axios, a spokesperson for the messaging platform went on to say that they believe Apple’s own apps should have to play by the same rules.
WhatsApp is unhappy with Apple’s new privacy ‘nutrition label’ policy for the App Store
The concept of the “nutrition label” is inspired by labels that list ingredients and caloric content on a product. The App Store’s app labels will help give users a better idea of what is going on inside an app before they download it from the App Store. These labels will list what information an app collects, and present that visually on the app page.
In a statement issued to Axios, a WhatsApp spokesperson said:
“We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people’s private information. While providing people with easy to read information is a good start, we believe it’s important people can compare these ‘privacy nutrition’ labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage.”
According to the report, the issue WhatsApp is highlighting is that they will be required to have a privacy label next to their app, but Apple’s own messaging app – iMessage – which comes pre-installed on iPhones would have a competitive advantage.
The spokesperson also said that though the company has submitted its privacy labels to Apple, “Apple’s template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information.”
In a recent blogpost regarding the issue, WhatsApp outlined all the data that it collects. The post reads, “We support transparency, which is why we already provide a way for people to download information associated with their account. We go to great lengths to build WhatsApp in a way that protects the privacy of our users and make them aware of this at the start of every conversation.”
While it is very unlikely that iMessage collects the same amount of data that WhatsApp does, the underlying argument presented by the company seems valid. At a time when Apple is under constant inspection for alleged anticompetitive behavior, it should definitely address this immediately.
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