After banning apps involved in cryptocurrency-mining, Apple has again pulled strings to stop app developers from sharing users’ contacts without their permission.
Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines last week according to which App developers are henceforth not allowed to harvest users’ contact list for the purpose of sharing it with third-parties.
The ‘Data Usage and Sharing’ section of the guidelines explicitly states:
“Do not use information from Contacts, Photos, or other APIs that access user data to build a contact database for your own use or for sale/distribution to third parties, and don’t collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing.”
The guidelines also restrict app developers from contacting user’s friends and other connections, using the information collected from Contacts and Photos, without user’s permission or initiation. Even if the user initiates to contact someone through an app, then the developer should provide the user with a clear description of the message that will appear to the recipient.
Moreover, app developers cannot use the data obtained from users by mentioning one purpose for another purpose. For using it for any purpose other than the earlier stated, the developer would need the user’s consent again.
Not abiding by these guidelines will result in the ban of the app from App store and expulsion of the app developer from Apple Developer Program.
After Facebook’s infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal which involved sharing of user’s data with third-party applications without their consent, Apple is trying not to commit the same mistake by quietly making changes in the way app interacts with users and how users’ data is harvested and stored.