WhatsApp criticizes Apple over privacy label requirements

Facebook-owned global messaging WhatsApp is protesting against Apple’s requirement that developers submit information about what user data they collect to create new privacy labels on Apple’s App Store, Reports Axios.

WhatsApp accused Apple of Anti-competitive behaviour.

Because iMessage is preinstalled on iPhones and don’t need to be downloaded from the App Store, where the new privacy labels will be shown. 

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“We think labels should be consistent across first and third-party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people’s private information,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Axios. “While providing people with easy to read information is a good start, we believe it’s important people can compare these ‘privacy nutrition’ labels from apps they download with apps that come preinstalled, like iMessage.”

Apple’s privacy broad terms such as “financial information” or “user content” to describe the kind of data that apps collect. These terms may worry users about the data it collects, giving it a competitive disadvantage, says WhatsApp.

WhatsApp submitted the required information to Apple on Monday, but said in a blog post that “Apple’s template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information.” The spokesperson told Axios, “while WhatsApp cannot see people’s messages or precise location, we’re stuck using the same broad labels with apps that do.”

Apple’s privacy “nutrition labels” are part of a more comprehensive privacy effort following its iOS 14 update in September. The various updates, such as limits to app tracking, have attracted significant criticism from Facebook, and there is a considerable ongoing disagreement between the companies.

The deadline for developers to submit the required privacy information about their apps was yesterday. It is unknown when precisely the privacy labels will begin appearing in the ‌App Store‌, but now that the deadline for submissions has passed, they will likely be added soon.

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