Apple is banning iOS devs from collecting and selling data on your friends and contacts

Facebook’s reputation may have suffered irreparable damage as a direct cause of the huge Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and the previously little known political consulting firm had no choice but to close all operations last month.

Still, the debate over consumer protection in online media and the user’s right to privacy across various social networks is chugging along, even after wide implementation of new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) practices.

Both Google and Apple have in the past been criticized for what many people viewed as flawed security measures or even dubious data harvesting habits of their own, but both Android and iOS privacy protection is undoubtedly improving.

After discreetly cracking down on apps that shared user location data with (potentially nefarious) third parties without explicit consent, Apple is making sure another widespread information collection tactic can no longer be employed by sneaky devs.

No more building contact databases for a developer’s “own use or for sale/distribution to third parties” by using info from an iPhone user’s Contacts list. No more building “user profiles based on collected data” or reconstructing user profiles “based on data collected from Apple-provided APIs or any data that you say has been collected in anonymized, aggregated, or otherwise non-identifiable way” either. Finally, no more contacting people “using information collected via a user’s Contacts or Photos, except at the explicit initiative of that user on an individualized basis.”

In a nutshell, even if a friend, colleague or family member is comfortable sharing your name, phone number, email address and/or profile photo with an app installed on their iPhone, devs can no longer sell that data or use it themselves for analytics or marketing purposes. And yes, breaking these strict new rules will probably attract an immediate App Store ban.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).