Home SecurityPrivacy Apple’s App Store privacy efforts are backfiring big time

Apple’s App Store privacy efforts are backfiring big time

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There have been some complaints recently about how the Apple App Store handles privacy. Although Apple is trying to position itself as the consumer-privacy-friendly company — in stark contrast to Google, primarily — some have complained that it is doing it in far too heavy-handed a way.

But what struck me as most interesting about the situation is how many companies have been hurt when, for example, an app that a company needs suddenly goes missing from the App Store, with no indication of when it will return or, well, just about any information at all.

Do these companies abandon the app and standardize on some other app? That can take quite some time and be disruptive and costly. It’s also infuriating if the original app suddenly returns the day before the new, more expensive app is supposed to roll out. Apple’s corporate attitude of “We’ll tell you nothing until we feel like it” is a real problem if Apple expects companies to rely on its business apps.

The privacy attitude of taking an app down with no notice or hint about its return may be fine for a game or some other entertainment app, but it’s a very serious issue for business apps. By the way, Apple could side-step this issue with a notification rather than a mandatory shutdown. For example, it could say, “Notice: Apple has found some privacy violations in this app and we are in discussions with the vendor to get matters fixed. If you’re still OK downloading the app, feel free to proceed.”

This approach would still position Apple in the pro-privacy area, but it would allow its users to make informed decisions. Better yet, the notice could specify the nature of the alleged privacy violation and truly allow for some informed decisions.

Let’s look at what happened recently with a security app from a company called Trend Micro. In September, Apple decided that some data retention in the app was a privacy violation. Without giving the company time to fix the issue, the app was yanked from the App Store.

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