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Apple is removing apps that share location data with third-parties without user consent

Apple is cracking down on applications in its App Store that share location data with third party companies without explicit consent from its user. The violation of its terms and conditions has resulted in some applications being removed entirely until developers make the corrections needed to re-enter its marketplace.

Affected developers have been contacted by Apple about the removal of their applications, citing a breach of sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of its App Store Guidelines, according to a report by 9to5Mac. These paragraphs clearly state that “apps transmitting user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes” will face punishment.

According to a letter sent to developers, apps can re-enter the App Store provided that the violations are addressed, removing “any code, frameworks, or SDKs” relating to the breach of contract. The resubmission will then be checked over by Apple to ensure its compliance to the App Store Guidelines.

While the changes come amidst the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Apple has always maintained a staunch attitude towards privacy policies in comparison to its competitors.

“You may not use or transmit someone’s personal data without first obtaining their permission and providing access to information about how and where the data will be used,” Apple explains regarding explicit user consent, while also prompting developers to state their intention with the collected data.

“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.”

Currently, it is unknown just how many developers have been affected by Apple’s effort to reinforce its policies, but it is expected to continue rolling out these punishments in the run up to GDPR’s full implementation.

KitGuru Says: This is good news for any and all Apple users, who can rest assured that developers will be more forthcoming about their practices in the future. This will still be dependent on each user to read what they are agreeing to, however, so remember to pay attention to the introductory documents.

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