An analysis of 49 VPN apps in the App Store shows that many of them have inaccurate privacy labels, and others didn’t have a label at all.
Top 20 VPN Charts
These 49 apps appear in the top 20 VPN apps displayed in each of the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia Apple App Store geolocations. As part of iOS 14 apps that collect data must use a combination of any of three labels: Data Not Linked To You, Data Linked To You, and Data Used to Track You.
Here are the key findings of the report for these VPN apps:
- Compliant apps: just 6 apps (12%) displayed privacy labels that adhered to Apple’s guidelines
- Inaccuracies: 34 apps (69%) had inaccurate privacy labels on their App Store listings. 19 apps (39%) had two or more incorrect labels.
- Missing labels: 9 apps (18%) lacked privacy labels as they had failed to submit any details to Apple
- IP address collection: 14 apps (29%) failed to properly disclose collection of this data point
- US version of the App Store: 19 (95%) of the 20 top-ranked VPN apps had inaccurate privacy labels
Most of the apps are ones that I have never heard of, but there are a few bigger brands mentioned, like 18.104.22.168 by Cloudflare, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN. The full report is well worth the read, and it’s concerning that these labels may not be accurate since a VPN is generally thought of as a privacy tool.