Facebook is far from the only tech giant under increasing public scrutiny of late for various failures in properly protecting user privacy. But in order to avoid any potential scandals, Apple is reportedly ramping up its efforts to keep the App Store safe and clean, no longer turning a blind eye to careless developers ignoring a couple of paramount guidelines concerning data collection.
A number of iOS apps found to be in violation of sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store rulebook have recently been removed from sale until their creators can bring them into line with the official guidelines and regulations. These are not new rules, mind you, but perhaps in light of the whole Facebook – Cambridge Analytica fiasco, or in preparation of the EU’s GDPR implementation, Apple has decided to be unrelenting at last.
If your app “transmits user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes”, you’ll need to remove “any code, frameworks, or SDKs” that conflict with Apple’s privacy protection vision before “resubmitting your app for review.”
Obviously, users have a right to know if their location is shared with a third party, and their permission will be obligatory for all such purposes.
Furthermore, people need to be informed “how and where” their data will be used, if they agree to offer access to it in the first place, and perhaps most importantly, iOS devs will no longer be allowed to “use or share” data collected from their apps with third parties for “purposes unrelated to improving the user experience or software/hardware performance connected to the app’s functionality.”
Once again, these ground rules were already established, but Apple finally seems to be enforcing them and punishing nefarious apps.