Following international intervention, Apple will shortly indicate on its App Store what personal data each app uses, empowering consumer choice.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), along with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets and the Norwegian Consumer Authority, took a leading role in the international effort to improve information available on the use of personal data by apps available in Apple’s App Store. This follows ongoing work from ICPEN (the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network), involving 27 of its consumer authority members across the world including the CMA.
Consumer protection authorities, including the CMA, became concerned that people were not being given clear information on how their personal data would be used before choosing an app, including on whether the app developer would share their personal data with a third party. Without this information, consumers are unable to compare and choose apps based on how they use personal data.
The changes secured by the CMA and its international partner agencies mean that people can more easily consider privacy issues when choosing whether or not to buy and download an app. These changes will come into effect for consumers shortly. ICPEN members are also in discussions with Google about privacy information on its App Store.
Ensuring consumers are protected in digital markets is a priority for the CMA, and today’s announcement comes as the CMA-led Digital Markets Taskforce advises the Government on the design of a new regulatory regime for digital markets in the UK, following the Government’s commitment to establish a Digital Markets Unit within the CMA in April 2021.
Safeguarding people’s control over their data is important for protecting privacy as well as for the healthy operation of the market. The CMA’s market study into online platforms and digital advertising advocated a competitive-neutral approach to implementing privacy regulation, so that the big platforms are not able to exploit privacy regulation to their advantage.
The CMA will be working with the Information Commissioner’s Office and with the communications regulator Ofcom further to address privacy and consumer protection issues through the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum.