How Decisions by Apple and Google obstruct App Privacy
Keywords:app stores, Digital Services Act, privacy, data protection, online platforms, Apple, Google, iOS, Android, apps
Ample past research highlighted that privacy problems are widespread in mobile apps and can have disproportionate impacts on individuals. However, doing such research, especially through automated methods, remains hard and has become an arms race with those who engage in invasive data practices. This paper analyses how decisions by Apple and Google, the makers of the two primary app ecosystems (iOS and Android), currently hold back (automated) app privacy research and thereby create systemic risks that have previously not been systematically documented. Such an analysis is timely and pertinent since the newly enacted EU Digital Services Act (DSA) obliges Very Large Online Platforms to enable ‘vetted researchers’ to study systemic risks (Article 40) and to put in place reasonable, proportionate and effective mitigation measures against systemic risks (Article 35).
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Copyright (c) 2023 Konrad Kollnig, Nigel Shadbolt
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