Apple Removes Apps That Sell Data


Those are the rules, Apple. The company informs developers via email that "upon re-evaluation", their application is in violation of sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which pertain to transmitting user location data and user awareness of data collection. According to a report by 9to5Mac, the iPhone maker started removing apps that share location data with third-parties without "explicit consent" from users.

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Developers who are contacted by Apple are encouraged to remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that relates to the violation before resubmitting the app for approval. Apple's crackdown comes ahead of the May 25th implementation of Europe's strict new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which strengthens the privacy protections users have in regards to their data.

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According to 9to5Mac, the main issue seems to be that the apps in question aren't doing enough to actually inform users what is happening with their location data, which is particularly important in situations where this data is being shared with third parties other than the app developer. Furthermore, location data can only be used for the goal of improving app performance and user experience. Under the new laws, apps will need to obtain explicit permission if they plan to collect personal information on users and explain how they plan to utilize the data.

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Whatever the reason, giving more information to users about how their data is used is never a bad thing, and if Apple catches a couple of rogue apps in the process then it will have done its job properly. Privacy has been a bigger focus for Apple than other tech companies like Facebook and Google, which use user data to sell advertising. Nonetheless, it's frustrating to see the company pull apps that they have already approved with little notice.