ACM calls on Apple and Google to adjust their app stores for data use

Together with 26 other European regulators, ACM is calling on Apple and Google to adjust their app stores. App providers are now unable to sufficiently inform consumers about the data usage of their app. According to the regulators, that must change.

According to board member Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, consumers have the right to know what an app does with their data. According to the board member, the app stores of Apple and Google now do not sufficiently show what an app does with data. That has to change, otherwise sanctions may follow, the regulators say. According to the Norwegian Forbrukertilsynet, informing users is especially important if apps are made to monetize that information.

Last year, consumer regulators conducted research into how consumers in digital stores are informed about what data is collected by apps and what is done with it. According to the regulators, the layout of the app stores does not provide sufficient opportunities to display information about the use of data.

In a jointly signed letter, the regulators write to Google that users now have to scroll far to click on a link. This redirects the user to an external site of the app builder. As a result, according to the regulators, it is ‘practically impossible’ to compare on the use of data by apps. According to the signatories, this information should be visible in the app store, on the first product page.

The ACM further writes that research shows that consumers compare apps based on the way in which apps use data, provided they are informed about this in advance. The ACM refers, among other things, to a study by MIT and University of Oxford that endorses this. This is not the first time that ACM has complained about information relating to data collection in apps, as the regulator did so earlier last summer.