- Apple introduced privacy labels to apps in the Mac and iOS App Stores.
- These “nutrition labels” aren’t a panacea for Big Tech’s data privacy woes, but rather a measure of triage.
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For context, the labels include three categories: data used to track you, data linked to you, and data not linked to you, with a summary of the specific data falling underneath each category and captured by the app outlined. The rollout of these privacy “nutrition labels” appears to be intended to help assuage consumers’ long-standing data privacy concerns.
Apple’s introduction of privacy labels to apps in the Mac and iOS App Stores is a good first step toward addressing consumers’ data privacy concerns. While the notion of introducing data privacy nutrition labels on apps has been explored in the past, Apple looks to be the first Big Tech player to implement them on a wide scale.
The move could help Apple begin to earn and build the trust of consumers—and in turn, potentially drive increased uptake of Apple devices such as its Series 6 Watch—considering consumers’ high distrust of Big Tech in general. For example, 56% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t trust tech companies like Apple and Google to ensure that their sensitive information remains anonymous, per a Washington Post-University of Maryland national poll conducted in late April.
However, while Apple’s new app privacy labels should give consumers some piece-of-mind concerning the safety of their personal data, they won’t be a panacea for Big Tech’s data privacy woes. Consumers’ Big Tech privacy concerns are deeply entrenched: For example, after Apple and Google launched their codeveloped coronavirus tracking API for iOS and Android smartphones, only 18% of US consumers indicated a willingness to share their personal health data with tech companies, per Deloitte’s 2020 Health Care Consumer Response to COVID-19 survey.
These results underscore the fragile relationship between Big Tech’s handling of consumers’ personal data and consumers themselves, suggesting that Apple’s introduction of privacy nutrition labels is no panacea, but rather a measure of triage.
And while this step by Apple to address consumers’ data privacy and security concerns could be seen by critics as “too little, too late,” it provides a base framework that other tech giants could mirror to at least kickstart the process of assuaging consumers’ deep-seated and abiding concerns over Big Tech’s treatment of their data and privacy.
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