The “red alert” is up! User privacy is expected to stop “running naked”

On May 13, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the “Notice on the List of Apps that Infringe on Users’ Rights and Interests”, in which 90 apps that have infringed on users’ rights and interests and have not been rectified were taken off the shelves. Among them, the acts of infringing users’ rights and interests are mainly focused on collecting personal information in violation of the law, forcing, frequent and excessive requesting of permissions and many other aspects.

 

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The “red alert” is up! User privacy is expected to stop “running naked”

In fact, with the rapid development of mobile Internet, the number of various types of apps is rising day by day, making the industry chaos is also emerging. In particular, the problem of personal privacy leakage is constantly criticized by users, and the voice of society for personal privacy protection is rising.

Since 2021, national regulators have introduced various policies to begin strict regulation, and major cell phone manufacturers have also strengthened their attention to personal privacy issues. It is worth mentioning that a series of regulatory measures concern the App’s launch, promotion and operation methods, and other aspects, and developers need to focus on them.

The problem of personal privacy leakage has emerged repeatedly

For example, a weather forecast app is asked to access the address book; a cell phone input method app is asked to get your address book or positioning permission…

If users do not passively accept, they will not be able to install or use the app normally, and when they agree, these apps may be able to upload user information to the server.

In addition, there are also cases of malicious code written into the app, which is difficult to uninstall after users download it and will not only steal users’ privacy but also further steal their passwords, leading to property loss and other problems.

For users, location, phone, photo album and other information are personal privacy that they don’t want to disclose, so secretly setting one access to information is equivalent to letting users’ privacy “run naked”. Driven by the “data = money”, many companies will sell users’ personal information to advertising platforms, and such cases are repeatedly prohibited.

State regulation, personal information is expected to stop “naked”

At present, excessive demand for user permissions, abuse of permissions and software bundling and other problems have been very serious, the leakage of personal information has become an urgent problem to be solved. This year, the relevant state departments have also opened a strong supervision.

① clarify the scope of necessary personal information of 39 types of apps

The State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration of Market Supervision jointly issued the “Provisions on the Scope of Necessary Personal Information of Common Types of Mobile Internet Applications” on March 22, stipulating that App operators will not collect user information “beyond the scope”. At the same time, the Regulations clarify the scope of necessary personal information of 39 types of apps, such as map navigation, network taxi, instant messaging and online shopping.

The regulation has come into effect on May 1, 2021, and if the app is not updated in accordance with the regulatory system, it will face exposure and removal from the shelves. From May 1, App can’t overly “reach out” for user information! You can learn more about the specific terms and conditions in this article.

In addition to this, some apps have developed many abusive functions in order to achieve the purpose of obtaining user privacy beyond the boundary. The Regulations list 13 types of apps that can provide services without requiring necessary personal information. These include: women’s health, online live streaming, online audio and video, short video, news and information, sports and fitness, browser, input method, security management, e-books, photography and beautification, application stores, etc.

For example, the basic function service of “sports and fitness app” is “sports and fitness training”, and the basic function service can be used without personal information. For example, the basic function service of “webcast app” is “to provide real-time video, audio, graphic and other forms of information browsing services to the public continuously”, and the basic function service can be used without personal information.

②The introduction of “App personal information protection management interim regulations

On April 20, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said that since this year, it has completed technical inspection of 290,000 apps, put forward rectification requirements for 1,862 non-compliant apps, publicly notified 319 apps that were not in place for rectification, and organized the removal of 107 apps that refused to rectify.

At the same time, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will, on the basis of fully soliciting opinions, issue the Interim Provisions on App Personal Information Protection Management with relevant departments, organize to formulate a series of industry standards such as the App User Rights Protection Assessment Specification and the App Collection and Use of Personal Information Minimum Necessary Assessment Specification, and provide policy and standard support for the supervision of App personal information protection.

And will be carried out in three aspects of perfecting management policies, strengthening the chain of responsibility and rectifying hot spots.

Improve management policies and standards. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology provides policy and standard support for the regulation of App personal information, issues “App personal information protection management provisional regulations” in conjunction with relevant departments, and organizes the development of a series of industry standards such as “App user rights protection assessment specification” and “App collection and use of personal information minimum necessary assessment specification”.

Strengthen the supervision of key responsibility chain. Strengthen the App shelf audit mechanism, urge the application stores to implement the platform responsibility, and effectively do a good job as the “gatekeeper” of personal information protection.

Continue to rectify the hot and difficult issues. On the basis of the special rectification of the previous App, further focus on tools, communication and other App, and increase the rectification of hot and difficult issues such as deception to induce users to download, pop-up information is difficult to close, illegal sharing and use of personal information and the use of third-party embedded software to damage the rights and interests of users.

Major cell phone manufacturers continue to build privacy barriers

In addition to the state’s attention to user privacy and security issues, major cell phone manufacturers and application stores are also constantly building their own privacy barriers.

I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of being pushed precise ads, when you look at a T-shirt on an app, you will be pushed the same type of T-shirt when you enter another app. In the future, such phenomenon may be reduced.

On April 27, Apple launched the official version of iOS 14.5 at the same time, the new privacy regulations officially landed. All apps on the App Store must return the option of tracking access to privacy to users, and apps must explicitly request permission from users before accessing IDFA of Apple devices and obtain authorization before obtaining IDFA. and IDFA has a separate switch for each app in addition to the system switch.

So, how exactly should developers respond to Apple’s new privacy policy? You can check the article “iOS 14.5 is coming next week and IDFA is about to “expire”! to learn more about the solution.

In the past year, Apple has been raising the banner of protecting user privacy, while Android has been following the trend and improving the privacy mechanism of its own mobile ecosystem.

In 2021 Google developer conference released Android 12 and made many improvements in privacy, for example, it will remind users which apps can have permission to turn on camera and microphone to avoid being listened to.

Meizu upgraded the Flyme 9 system for privacy protection after Apple, also when the user authorized to get access to the device IDFA; OPPO provides the system split, application hiding, private safe, privacy stand-in, etc. Using the “privacy stand-in” function, you can effectively avoid third-party software to read personal information, and provide a blank data when the software extracts personal information, which not only avoids privacy disclosure, but does not affect the normal use of downloaded software.

Conclusion

Although the introduction of a series of regulations and systems may usher in a new round of industry reshuffle, but from a long-term perspective, in the leakage of user information is common at the moment, the protection of user privacy is the key to cater to users and market demand. For developers, they also need to focus on the regulatory policies introduced by the state and make timely adjustments to their products to avoid the process of App launch and promotion from being affected.

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