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Apple Restricts Apps From Collecting Data About Your Friends

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Last week, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines after unveiling iOS 12. The new guidelines introduce policies for remote mirroring apps, removing cryptocurrency mining apps, and free trials.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple also quietly updated its data sharing rules in the process. The new regulations restrict developers from collecting user data in order to build out profiles that can be used for things like advertising.

(iii) Apps should not attempt to surreptitiously build a user profile based on collected data and may not attempt, facilitate, or encourage others to identify anonymous users or reconstruct user profiles based on data collected from Apple-provided APIs or any data that you say has been collected in an “anonymized,” “aggregated,” or otherwise non-identifiable way.

The rules also prohibits apps from accessing data from a user’s contacts:

(v) Do not contact people using information collected via a user’s Contacts or Photos, except at the explicit initiative of that user on an individualized basis; do not include a Select All option or default the selection of all contacts. You must provide the user with a clear description of how the message will appear to the recipient before sending it (e.g. What will the message say? Who will appear to be the sender?).

In light of many revelations over the past few months, the new guidelines will put an end to secretive data collection techniques on Apple’s platform. Developers who are caught breaking these rules could get banned from the App Store.

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