Apple has reportedly started cracking down against apps that share users’ location to third parties without their explicit consent.
According to 9to5mac, Apple has already booted 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. “Upon re-evaluation, we found that your app is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, we found: The App transmits user location data to third parties without explicit content from the user and for unapproved purposes.”
“For this reason, your app will be removed from sale on the App Store at this time. 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.
As 9to5Mac‘s report notes, the move comes just weeks the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law takes effect on May 25th. Although it’s unclear whether Apple is cracking down on privacy-unaware apps to comply with GDPR, the firm is requesting that in addition to asking users for permission, developers also explain what the data is used for and how it is shared.
Apple’s guidelines also state that the firm cracking down on instances where the data is used for purposes unrelated to improving 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”
Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly introducing a feature in iOS 11.4 called ‘USB Restricted Mode’ that will make it harder for law enforcement to extract data from stolen or seized iPhones.