Apple Cracks Down on Apps That Share Users’ Location Data with Third Parties

Apple has reportedly started cracking down on apps that share users’ location to third parties without their explicit consent.

According to a new report from 9to5MacApple has already axed a number of offending apps from the App Store and has informed developers via email that their app is not in compliance with sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which relate to transmitting user location data.

“We are writing to let you know about new information regarding your app,” the email reads.

“For this reason, your app will be removed from sale on the App Store at this time,” the email concludes. “To return your app for sale on the App Store, remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that fall in line with the functionality described above and resubmit your app for review.”

Section 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the guidelines prohibit developers from trying to identify anonymous users from aggregate data and disallows sharing personal data without obtaining explicit consent. All collected data may only be used for “improving the user experience or software/hardware performance” related to app functions or for purposes of advertising.

9To5Mac notes that in the instances that it has observed, the affected apps do not do enough to inform users about the procurement of location data and that it is being sent to third parties. The decision might also be, in part, influenced by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that will come into force in the European Union starting May 25.

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