Developers have updated instructions for filling out the privacy “nutrition labels” shown in the App Store. There are additions and clarifications.
Apple asks developers to submit the information for these privacy labels shown to users. There’ve been questions about how accurate the devs’ responses are — including some from a Congressional committee — and the new instructions might be part of Apple’s response.
Apple tries to clarify the process
A side-by-side comparison of the current rules on App Store privacy labels versus a version from February 20 via the Wayback Machine highlights the differences in the instructions developers must follow.
One of the first changes demonstrates the sort of clarifications Apple made. It added to the section about data collection the stipulation that, “Even if you collect the data for reasons other than analytics or advertising, it still needs to be declared.”
There are circumstances under which data gathered by applications doesn’t have to be reported for the App Store privacy label. If the user is typing in and submitting in the data themselves, for example. But the instructions now include new language that emphasizes that reporting many types of data won‘t be optional. “Data types must meet all criteria in order to be considered optional for disclosure,” the instructions now state. Just meeting some of the criteria is not enough.
New rules for filling out App Store privacy labels
The changes to Apple’s instructions aren’t all clarifications. There are new rules related to informing users when an app collects and stores IP address, and when it tracks web usage.
According to just-added instructions, the App Store privacy label must declare if software includes in-app private messaging between users, and games must tell players about game saves and multiplayer matching. And there’s a new section that covers applications gathering information related to financial services.
Developers can update their answers at any time, and do not need to submit an app update in order to do so. And they should quickly do so if necessary. Apple audits the submissions, and a company spokesperson said in January, “Apps that fail to disclose privacy information accurately may have future app updates rejected, or in some cases, be removed from the App Store entirely if they don’t come into compliance.”