Florida Attorney General proposes new policy to flag foreign-owned apps
Over the past few years, concerns over national security with Chinese-owned apps like TikTok have skyrocketed. In an effort to combat this problem and make consumers aware of the potential risks of installing an app, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has proposed a new policy to flag foreign-owned and developed apps with a special icon or designation.
Moody’s concerns over TikTok stem from the app’s data privacy practices and national security risks. While other states and government entities have taken steps to ban TikTok on government devices, Moody’s proposal focuses on informing consumers of the risks associated with foreign-owned and developed apps.
She also cited Pushwoosh, a Russian malicious code discovered in thousands of apps on the App Store, including those of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Army, as one of the major reasons that prompted her to write letters to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Empowering Consumers to Make Informed Decisions
According to Moody, the lack of transparency in app stores poses a significant risk to American citizens. Her proposal aims to empower consumers by providing clear and easy-to-understand information about the origin of an app, enabling them to make more informed decisions about their data privacy and security. By adding a foreign-owned or developed designation to apps related to certain countries, consumers will have access to the highest level of transparency and protection.
“Consumers have a right to know if these countries are related to the origination, development, or ownership of these applications. Informing consumers of this foreign-based status allows consumers to decide whether or not they want to subject themselves, or this country, to the inherent and increased risks associated with such foreign applications,” reads her letter.
It’s not clear whether Apple or Google will flag foreign-owned apps in response to Moody’s proposal, as they already label the developer and include links to their website. However, with the growing concerns about data privacy and security, app stores need to take action to protect their users.