Security

If your iOS app shares location data without permission, Apple will pull it

Apple recently updated its App Store Review Guidelines to ban sharing data with third parties.

Apple appears to be cracking down on apps that share a user's location data with third parties. This week, Apple began removing apps in question and informing developers via email that their app violates the App Store Review Guidelines, 9to5Mac reported.

The email, publicly tweeted by at least one developer, refers to sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which state "The app transmits user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes."

The apps will be removed from sale in the App Store until developers remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that share location data with third parties, the email stated. Once a new, compliant version is submitted and approved, the app will be returned to the store.

SEE: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy (Tech Pro Research)

Apple's crackdown comes as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is about to go into effect on May 25, and companies such as Facebook face extreme backlash for failing to protect user data.

The apps in question here don't properly inform users about what happens with their data, 9to5Mac reported. Apple seems to want developers to both ask for permission to share data, and to explain what the data is used for and how it is shared.

The company also added language to its guidelines specifying that data must be used to improve the user experience: "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."

It remains unclear how many apps were affected by the changes. Developers should follow Apple's instructions and resubmit their apps to bet back in the App Store.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Apple is removing apps that share user data with third parties without permission, and informing developers via email.
  • The apps will be removed from sale in the App Store until developers remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that share location data with third parties.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/bedo

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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