Technology companies that collect any sort of data are scrambling to be sure that they are being as careful in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy problems. The latest tech firm to take a hard look at user privacy is Apple, with reports that it is cracking down on apps that share location data with third-party companies.
Apple has begun removing the apps in question from the App Store if it finds that data is being shared and notifying the developers of the app that they have violated two different listing guidelines (sections are 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines). Those guidelines have to do with transmitting user location data and user awareness of data collection.
Apple is asking the developers to remove any code, framework, or software development kits that relate to the violations that resulted in their app’s removal from the store. Once they remove the offending materials, they can resubmit to the App Store to get relisted. This change could well have to do with Apple making moves to get ready for the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Reports indicate that some of the apps that have been removed so far seem to have been axed due to developers poorly informing the users about what is happening to the data collected. Apple is also said to be cracking down on the use of collected data for purposes other than improving app functionality.
Apple writes, “You may not use or transmit someone’s personal data without first obtaining their permission and providing access to information about how and where the data will be used. Data collected from apps may not be used or shared with third parties for purposes unrelated to improving the user experience or software/hardware performance connected to the app’s functionality.”