WhatsApp says Apple's new privacy nutrition labels are anticompetitive

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has criticized Apple for demanding privacy information that it does not have to disclose for its own apps -- but as it turns out, Apple is in fact disclosing this information, the same as it requires from third parties.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook


Alongside the continuing disagreements between Apple, Facebook and others over iOS 14 privacy features, WhatsApp has called the new feature unfair. The messaging company objects to how Apple's own Messages does not require the new privacy label details, because it is preinstalled on iPhones.

"While providing people with easy to read information is a good start," a WhatsApp spokesperson told Axios, " we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

"We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," continued the spokesperson, "as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people's private information."

WhatsApp reports that it has submitted the information Apple requests about how its app handles user data. However, the company fears that users will see this specific information and learn none of its own security and privacy features.

"Our teams have submitted our privacy labels to Apple but Apple's template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information," said the spokesperson. "[For instance, while] WhatsApp cannot see people's messages or precise location, we're stuck using the same broad labels with apps that do."

Apple previously said that developers have to submit this "nutrition label" kind of information by December 8. It's now a requirement for all iOS 14 apps.

Additionally, Apple has told AppleInsider that all iOS apps are subject to the privacy information label, including its own. If an iOS app doesn't have its own product page, like some of the apps that ship with the iPhone, it will still have privacy data for users, published by Apple, on its website.

There is not yet, however, a date by which users will see such labels for all apps. Regardless of the December 8 deadline, Apple has said that existing apps will remain available to download even if the information is not supplied.

Consequently, users can expect to soon see some of these "nutrition labels" detailing privacy issues. However, it could be a considerable time before the information is on every relevant app.

Updated December 9 1:41 PM ET with information from Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    Wah, wah, wah. Poor little Zuckerberg should stop whining and crying. Zero sympathy even when the twerp in chief has a point. All apps should follow the same disclosure rules. Not to worry the socialists in the EU will quickly pounce on this.
    Anilu_777JanNLmacseekerBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,290member
    They should be careful what they wish for. Do they really want to invite that kind of comparison? 

    "Our teams have submitted our privacy labels to Apple but Apple's template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information,"

    Do these guys listen to themselves talk? They make it sound like a bad thing. 
    dewmewilliamlondonRayz2016Anilu_777SpamSandwichStrangeDaysmagman1979macseekerviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 33
    Their response is 'whataboutism' and "but look at how we protect all that data which was taken through privacy violations"??
    Anilu_777magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,172member
    Whenever Zuckerberg complains about Apple crimping his style and affecting his bottom line I get a warm, fuzzy feeling all over. Feels good.
    williamlondonAnilu_777plastico23SpamSandwichmagman1979JanNLviclauyycdysamoriabeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,543member
    Apple’s built-in apps are already covered by the blanket privacy statements that are associated with the devices. Replicating this information on a per-app basis would be redundant. However, I don’t think that Apple repeating this information would be a burden on Apple or its customers. We all know what Apple is up to, no surprises there, but third parties, and especially the purveyors of so-called “free” apps, need to come clean and let their user base (the product) know how they are paying for “free.” This pushback from ZuckerBoy is a silly distraction but Apple can hammer their point home and swat this fly very easily by restating what is obvious to Apple customers. Then we’ll see what their next complaint will be, because they undoubtedly have a queue of them ready to go.   
    edited December 2020 williamlondonAnilu_777JanNLwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable
    williamlondonCloudTalkin
  • Reply 7 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable
    I get Apple’s privacy notifications when they bring out new releases of the operating system. Since Apple’s apps are installed alongside it, then why do I need a separate notification for Messages, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Contacts, the Settings App, the Calendar, Safari … I’d rather not read thirty odd notes straight after the installation thanks. Just the single blanket note will do fine, thanks. 

    Meanwhile other developers are proudly stating  what a pleasure it is to be able to tell their customers “We’re not actually doing anything with your personal information.” 

    williamlondonmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Rayz2016 said:
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable
    I get Apple’s privacy notifications when they bring out new releases of the operating system. Since Apple’s apps are installed alongside it, then why do I need a separate notification for Messages, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Contacts, the Settings App, the Calendar, Safari … I’d rather not read thirty odd notes straight after the installation thanks. Just the single blanket note will do fine, thanks. 

    Meanwhile other developers are proudly stating  what a pleasure it is to be able to tell their customers “We’re not actually doing anything with your personal information.” 
    Because combining 30 privacy notices into a single note is a surefire way to ensure they don't get read.  I think it should be mandatory for all apps first time they're l;aucnhed, or first time they're launched after a privacy nutrition label update to show the label front and centre.

    Make people pay attention.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamMplsPCloudTalkinelijahg
  • Reply 9 of 33
    lkrupp said:
    Whenever Zuckerberg complains about Apple crimping his style and affecting his bottom line I get a warm, fuzzy feeling all over. Feels good.
    Yeah cry  me a river, Zuckerberg. The “we sell ads” guy is font and centre in Apple’s crosshairs and I like it. 
    williamlondondysamoriaDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    Hey Zucky, so the feature hasn’t gone live yet and we’re assuming Apple’s apps won’t show the labels? At least wait to confirm whether they added them or not. This is yet another case of “crucify Apple for something we have no idea they will or will not do” *rolling eyes*
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 33
    In case anyone missed the documentary on how awesome Zuckerberg really is (sarcasm, of course): https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81254224

    Duplicate post: site was not processing submit...sorry...
    edited December 2020 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 33
    In case anyone missed the documentary on how awesome Zuckerberg really is (sarcasm, of course): https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81254224

    Duplicate post: site was not processing submit...sorry...
    edited December 2020 magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 33
    In case anyone missed the documentary on how awesome Zuckerberg really is (sarcasm, of course): https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81254224
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 33
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,702member
    crowley said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable
    I get Apple’s privacy notifications when they bring out new releases of the operating system. Since Apple’s apps are installed alongside it, then why do I need a separate notification for Messages, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Contacts, the Settings App, the Calendar, Safari … I’d rather not read thirty odd notes straight after the installation thanks. Just the single blanket note will do fine, thanks. 

    Meanwhile other developers are proudly stating  what a pleasure it is to be able to tell their customers “We’re not actually doing anything with your personal information.” 
    Because combining 30 privacy notices into a single note is a surefire way to ensure they don't get read.  I think it should be mandatory for all apps first time they're l;aucnhed, or first time they're launched after a privacy nutrition label update to show the label front and centre.

    Make people pay attention.
    That’s my thought. Legally, I’m guessing Apple is covered by the disclosures they make in the 100 page license agreement that everyone ignores when they first use their phone or install a new version of iOS,  but as a practical matter, I agree with @crowley - if you’re really interested in letting consumers be informed and make informed decisions you should let them easily compare and provide the same information in the same format.

    edited December 2020 williamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 15 of 33
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,574member
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable

    WhatsApp says, what about iMessage? But this leads to a nutrition label for every single built-in feature of iOS! That's extremely unreasonable.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    Mark Zuckerberg threw millions of dollars into highly contested states to influence the election because he’s a puppet for China. Screw him and his platforms.
    edited December 2020 magman1979macseekerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,252member
    tommikele said:
    Wah, wah, wah. Poor little Zuckerberg should stop whining and crying. Zero sympathy even when the twerp in chief has a point. All apps should follow the same disclosure rules. Not to worry the socialists in the EU will quickly pounce on this.
    Ignorance on parade, I'm afraid. We have socialism right here in the US and have since before your parents were born. Socialism is a type of policy for spending tax revenue. Do you enjoy schools? Roads? Clean drinking water? Unemployment insurance? Medicare? The space program? Parks? Etc etc....all socialism. It's not a bad word, despite what populist media outlets peddle. We've enjoyed the benefits of socialist policy for over a century. 
    edited December 2020 williamlondonmjtomlinmuthuk_vanalingamsphericavon b7MplsPwatto_cobraTRAG
  • Reply 18 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    mjtomlin said:
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable

    WhatsApp says, what about iMessage? But this leads to a nutrition label for every single built-in feature of iOS! That's extremely unreasonable.
    Why?

    Apple wants to hold developers to account by its users, why not hold itself to account with the same users?
    williamlondonCloudTalkinmuthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 19 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,469member
    rob55 said:
    They should be careful what they wish for. Do they really want to invite that kind of comparison? 

    "Our teams have submitted our privacy labels to Apple but Apple's template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information,"

    Do these guys listen to themselves talk? They make it sound like a bad thing. 

    I dislike Facebook. A lot.  In this case tho WhatsApp does have a point IMO. They will be forced to say they collect "user content"  like messages and photos even though the reality is that it uses end-to-end encryption, so WhatsApp has no actual access to that data. 

    "We deployed end-to-end encryption throughout our app in 2016, meaning that calls, messages, photos, videos, and voice notes to friends and family are only shared with the intended recipient; no one else (not even us) can read them. With end-to-end encryption, messages are not stored on our servers after they’re delivered, and in the normal course of operating our services we do not retain a record of the people you may message."


    They are not the only third party provider who will get tagged even those the provider cannot access any of that data due to E2EE
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 20 of 33
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,574member
    crowley said:
    mjtomlin said:
    crowley said:
    Came into this thread expecting to scoff, but
    "we believe it's important people can compare these 'privacy nutrition' labels from apps they download with apps that come pre-installed, like iMessage."

    "We think labels should be consistent across first and third party apps," 
    isn't unreasonable

    WhatsApp says, what about iMessage? But this leads to a nutrition label for every single built-in feature of iOS! That's extremely unreasonable.
    Why?

    Apple wants to hold developers to account by its users, why not hold itself to account with the same users?

    Why? There are literally thousands of features and APIs in iOS that access a user's data. Needing to create a label for each is ridiculous.

    The point of these labels is to inform users before they download an app. It's a little late to do that with built-in apps because users already have the device in their hands with the software installed. Trying to argue that Apple should create these labels after the fact pretty much defeats the purpose of the label.

    Any user that is worried about what Apple does with their data, should've looked into it before they bought Apple's device.
    edited December 2020 williamlondonJanNLwatto_cobra
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