Reports indicate that Apple has moved to enforce privacy rules for apps available on the App Store. According to the reports the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has begun a process of removing apps which possess the capacity of sharing users’ location data with 3rdparties without getting explicit consent. This is on the grounds that the apps have violated App Store Review Guidelines that prohibit such behavior.
A letter which was sent to affected developers insisted that they must get rid of software development kits, frameworks or code which aided location sharing without getting explicit user consent. After that they can resubmit their applications for review.
The move by Apple is an indication that the iPhone maker wants developers to explicitly ask for permission before asking for the location data of users and also disclose how the data will be used and where it will be transmitted after it is collected. The iPhone maker has also placed restrictions with regards to what uses the collected data can be put to after sharing with 3rdparties.
“Data collected from apps may not be used or shared with third parties for purposes unrelated to improving the user experience or software/hardware performance connected to the app’s functionality, or to serve advertising in compliance with the Apple Developer Program License Agreement,” read the Apple guidelines.
The move by Apple comes at a time when the tech sector is engaged in efforts aimed at complying with the General Data Protection Regulation guidelines outlined by European Union. The data protection regulations are set to become effective later this month.
User data scandals
Unlike other tech firms such as Google and Facebook whose business models are heavily reliant on user data, Apple has placed a bigger emphasis on privacy. But with the user data scandals that have faced the online advertising giants, Apple has placed even more importance on user privacy. The tech giant is also probably trying to prevent possible scandals in the future with regards to the App Store especially since some apps have been engaging in the sharing of user location data for mysterious or unknown reasons.
Additionally in preparation for the GDPR guidelines becoming effective Apple has introduced new privacy tools which will be made available to users all over the European Union as well as other countries. The tools include a webpage which allows users to manage their Apple IDs from one place. Users will also be able to get a copy of the data that Apple has stored about them.