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Apple is finally plugging an important App Store data privacy gap

Apple is finally forcing app developers to include a privacy policy for all new and updated app submissions. In an announcement this week, the company says even apps submitted through the TestFlight beta testing platform will require an easily-accessible text-based policy or an external link before they’ll be accepted.

The privacy policy will require developers to state how it uses the data it collects from users during app usage and will give the App Store community more tools to decide which apps they feel comfortable using.

The company also tells developers they won’t be able to edit the privacy policy until they submit a new version of the app.

In post on the App Store Connect support page (via TechCrunch) Apple writes: “Starting October 3, 2018, App Store Connect will require a privacy policy for all new apps and app updates in order to be submitted for distribution on the App Store or through TestFlight external testing. In addition, your app’s privacy policy link or text will only be editable when you submit a new version of your app.”

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Apple doesn’t say whether it will be individually reviewing the respective privacy policies of the apps, or leaving it up to users to spot egregious requests for permissions.

The announcement comes as Apple continues to extoll how it protects customers’ personal data, in comparison to companies like Google and Facebook, who rely on that data to power their advertising business models.

In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Apple CEO Tim Cook was critical of Facebook’s handling of the crisis, claiming Apple wouldn’t find itself in that position because it did not monetise customer data.

In May, Cook told Recode: “The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”

Are you surprised that Apple has taken this long to force app developers to be up front about privacy? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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