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CFTC petitions Apple, Google

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

MALONDA— Failure to make full disclosure of information is an offence

Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), alongside other consumer protection entities from 26 countries around the world, have asked Apple to make adjustments to their app stores for app providers to be informing consumers about privacy policies regarding data.

The organisations have made the demand under the banner of International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN).

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The development follows a study that ICPEN conducted in 2018 on the way consumers in app stores are informed about personal data that these app providers collect, and what they do with this data, which established that the provision of information was inadequate.

CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Malonda, said studies have shown that consumers compare how apps use their data, provided they get the right information in advance.

“Transparency is a precondition for that. If consumers get clear information about the data policies of individual apps in a timely manner, they will make conscious decisions regarding apps on the basis of the amount of data that is collected or shared.

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“In Malawi, under the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), it is mandatory for commercial enterprises to provide consumers with true, sufficient, clear and timely information on the services they offer. Failure to make full disclosure of information is an offence which attracts a fine and imprisonment,” Malonda said.

This is the first time international consumer authorities have joined forces in a single action. It is open to these individual consumer authorities to consider sanctions if Apple and Google do not meet the requirements set by the authorities.

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