Do you value your own privacy? Can consumers who use smartphones use apps and have privacy?
Apple App Developers are now required to include a nutrition label of all methods used to collect user data. This is excellent news for consumers worldwide and is why I personally trust Apple more than its competitors. Android smartphones are a hot mess. They are releasing smartphones that cannot be upgraded to the latest Android OS, and security patches are not available to most of them. The Android platform is a hacker’s playground. At least, Apple updates its products, talks about privacy, and puts out solutions to combat it. At the same time, it is also alarming how many tech companies do track their users.
Even before Apple introduced this idea of displaying an App Nutrition Label, I have already laid out all my apps and what data is collected. The only information I collect is for analytics to improve the app. The other requirements are all Google’s advertisement network requirements to run. I even released new apps without anything in them because I value my privacy, and I’m sure my users do as well. If you’re curious, it’s available here. The Prayer Request App has nothing in it; it is 100% free, with no ads or analytics. I thought I’d get more app reviews, but I guessed wrong. Users only write a review when it doesn’t work, right?
How does this affect you, the consumer?
The nutritional labels will help consumers make a better decision on which apps to trust. This is a good thing for consumers. Thus building a trust in which brands we feel connected with.
How does this affect you, the developer?
If you are collecting data that you shouldn’t, then this will be bad for you. Can you imagine seeing the long list of items some of these top social media and tech giants collect on us? How about seeing a long list for an app that shouldn’t be collecting anything, to begin with?
This will make the developer think twice before releasing third-party libraries that track its users. For most app developers, we have ethics that we should follow. However, there will always be bad players who may try to sneak around these new nutrition labels.
Do in-app advertisements collect my data?
Any app with built-in advertisements uses third-party SDKs (software developer kit) that most likely track all kinds of metrics. All this extra data collecting isn’t always in the developer’s control. Advertising vendors collect data that the developer isn’t even aware of. This is why paying for the premium app is your best bet—just something to think about when choosing that “free application” with advertisements. The best bet is to purchase or set up a subscription to that new app. The cool thing about this is app developers are like the mom and pop shops of the past. An app purchase helps them provide for their families. App developers need to eat too.
What’s the future for mobile advertisements?
The advertisement space may not be around in the future. This is my thoughts as more laws, and with Apple’s help to rid of these privacy data collecting issues are brought to our awareness. Laws are complicated, and as new laws are put on the books, it will be hard for developers to keep up with them. That alone can make us not want to deal with advertisements anymore as it will be too much of a hassle. I think advertisements will be blocked, which dries up revenue for content creators who rely on them. By doing this, we won’t have as many free apps, but alternatively, we will have paid and even subscription models. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. These are just my opinions. What are your thoughts?
These are exciting times for users as more strict rules are being enforced to reveal the types of shenanigans tech giants are doing behind our backs. Moving forward, at least there is a label where users can be aware of what the software is doing in the background. This may not be a fix-all, but at least it is moving in the right direction.