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Apple to Require All Apps to Have Privacy Policy

New Apple iPhone X smartphone.
In a slight policy modification, Apple has issued an instruction mandating a privacy policy from all apps on its App Store, past, present and future.

The data privacy bug is biting practically everyone out there.

Though the major trigger happened to be the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica episode, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) implementation in Europe is another needle that has resulted in companies springing into action.

Each organization that has operations throughout the world and has to honor the laws in each region is hard-pressed to act decisively in the matter of securing the data that gets collected within its domain.

Apple has its App Store where developers upload their applications. Apple has a strict policy in place and it is already quite difficult to get an app cleared for inclusion in the store.

In its latest move, Apple has said all apps on its store will have to have a dedicated page that spells out their privacy policy.

The new rule will be implemented October 3.

Policy Already in Place but to Cover All Apps

This message has been conveyed by Apple through the App Store Connect channel, which the company uses to remain in touch with all its developers.

The message posted on this channel says that the company would want to see a separate URL included within their apps which has the privacy policy of the app developer spelt out in black and white.

The interesting part is that Apple already has this policy and it is mandatory for all paid apps to include their privacy policy.

The change now is that irrespective of whether the app is free for download or falls in the “paid” category, the privacy policy requirement will still hold true.

No Penal Actions Proposed Yet

Another interesting development connected to this news is that Apple has yet to state if there will be any penal provisions for those that don’t comply with this privacy policy requirement.

The normal expectation would be to state that the apps that have failed to demonstrate that they have included the policy as per Apple’s instruction would be removed from the App Store. But there is no such declaration yet.

Possibly, Apple will wait until the date it has stipulated, that is October 3, and then take a suitable view regarding this.

In addition, the only stipulation is that the existing apps can use the next update they plan to upload to include this privacy policy content.

All freshly submitted apps will naturally be evaluated based on the prior inclusion of the policy, as mandated.

Data Leak Complaints Necessitated the Action

Privacy Access Identification Password Passcode and Privacy
The data privacy bug is biting practically everyone out there.

According to people who are in the know, besides the reasons mentioned above, the company had received complaints that some apps might have indulged in collecting data of users without their knowing that such data is being collected.

This is a serious breach of privacy, and Apple—which repeatedly states its commitment to user privacy—has taken it in that perspective.

This is the reason for binding the app developers also into making public their avowed policy on data they collect. At the next stage, Apple may even scrutinize the wording in the security policies posted by different apps to see if they meet the overall policy guidelines on data privacy that Apple holds as supreme.

If there are loopholes, those developers may be advised to modify their policies.

These things too could happen after the first deadline passes by.

GDPR a Major Part of the Context

Ever since the European Parliament passed the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) Act, and the law officially came into effect back in May, corporate entities have been putting in efforts to ensure no case of data leaks occur on their sites that operate within European Union borders.

Many have possibly entered into agreements with their respective service providers on their website’s security aspect. This way, even if anything serious were to happen, the company’s own liability could be limited.

But in the case of companies like Apple, with such a vast scale of operations in Europe, an innocuous app can turn into a cause for unnecessary action from the E.U.

Without doubt, the Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant does not want to be anywhere even close to such an embarrassing situation.

In the long run, all these augur well for the public at large. The more awareness there is of data protection, the better it is for them and they would feel less wary while sharing their personal information.

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