According to a report recently published by Bloomberg, it seems that Apple has made changes to its App Store regulations about a week ago. The tech giant has now placed restrictions with regards to the manner in which app developers can collect, utilize, and even share data about friends or contacts of owners of iPhone devices.
Before, it was customary for app developers to request permission from end users in order to enjoy access to phone contacts. Such methods were usually performed for marketing, networking (brands like Snapchat and Instagram access contacts in order to help build a user’s network of friends), and database generation purposes (amongst many other things). Unfortunately, some developers were also not that keen to maintain the utmost care in taking care of that access, and even go as far as selling the information derived from phone contacts to third parties.
This is the main reason Apple is now amending its App Store Review Guidelines. Under the revised rules, developers are now prevented from generating databases using info gathered from the contacts of iPhone users. More importantly, developers are prohibited from sharing or selling the user data to third parties.
On top of the changes mentioned in the preceding paragraph, Apple is no longer allowing mobile apps to gain access to a user’s contacts list and state it is being utilized for something but then use it for another purpose entirely, unless of course the iPhone user gives his or her express consent. If developers are found to be in violation of the amended App Store Review Guidelines, they will face severe consequences, including a possible ban.
The security and privacy of a mobile user’s personal information continues to be a hot topic lately, mainly because some of the world’s biggest brands in tech are sort of not exactly doing a great job protecting it. Take the most popular social media platform in the face of the planet -- Facebook -- last March, the company had a lot of explaining to do after it was discovered that it had given Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm, data from as many as 87 million Facebook users.
Interestingly for Apple, it never made any mention of any upcoming updates to its App Store Review Guidelines during its recent Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which kicked off last June 4th. But it did make the announcement that it was integrating new controls that should minimize monitoring of users’ Internet surfing activities.
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