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Apple Sets Limits on Developer’s Ability to Collect User Data

A customer uses her Apple iPhone X during an Apple event at their main store Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

Apple is trying to stop app developers from sharing data on users’ friends, according to a Tuesday report from Bloomberg.

Apple modified its App Store rules last week in an effort to restrict certain types of data sharing. Specifically, the company is aiming to eliminate the sharing of information on app user’s friends and contacts. The new rule is crucial because it prevents companies from gaining access to information about individuals who have not consented to share their information.

Some analysts argue that Apple is complicit in certain privacy violations when they fail to place restrictions on developer data access.“They have a huge ecosystem making money through the developer channels and these apps, and until the developers get better on privacy, Apple is complicit,” said Domingo Guerra, president of Appthority, a company that specializes in smartphone security. “When someone shares your info as part of their address book, you have no say in it, and you have no knowledge of it.”

One developer explained that the previous protocol for data access allowed developers to quickly save information on a user’s contact list. The developer claimed that Apple keeps no records on their role in permitting developers to access such personal data.

“The address book is the Wild West of data,’’ one mobile developer said. “I am able to instantly transfer all the contacts info into some random server or upload it to Dropbox if I wanted to, the very moment a user says okay to giving contacts permission. Apple doesn’t track it, nor do they know where it went.’’

The new rule, which went into effect last week, will prevent developers from building databases from personal data provided to them via the contact list of their users.

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