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Apple Tries To Stop Developers Sharing Data On Users' Friends (bloomberg.com) 21

Apple has updated its App Store guidelines to close a loophole that let app makers store and share data without many people's consent. The practice has "been employed for years," reports Bloomberg. "Developers ask users for access to their phone contacts, then use it for marketing and sometimes share or sell the information -- without permission from the other people listed on those digital address books." From the report: As Apple's annual developer conference got underway on June 4, the Cupertino, California-based company made many new pronouncements on stage, including new controls that limit tracking of web browsing. But the phone maker didn't publicly mention updated App Store Review Guidelines that now bar developers from making databases of address book information they gather from iPhone users. Sharing and selling that database with third parties is also now forbidden. And an app can't get a user's contact list, say it's being used for one thing, and then use it for something else -- unless the developer gets consent again. Anyone caught breaking the rules may be banned.

While Apple is acting now, the company can't go back and retrieve the data that may have been shared so far. After giving permission to a developer, an iPhone user can go into their settings and turn off apps' contacts permissions. That turns off the data faucet, but doesn't return information already gathered.

Apple Tries To Stop Developers Sharing Data On Users' Friends

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will this really stop developers from doing that? Or will this be like so many gun laws on the books today...those who follow the rules will be affected, while those who don't care about them will pretend they don't exist.

    • Will this really stop developers from doing that?

      That depends on how well it is enforced. The standard way to detect abuse is to "salt" the lists with a small amount (less than 1%) fake data, using names and emails that are highly unlikely to be randomly guessed, are used for no other purpose, and are unique for each requester. If you get marketing spam on one of those address, you know exactly who broke the rules.

    • Apple needs to f***ing put a sandbox around Contacts, Mail, Notes, etc, and only allow intercommunication between apps that willingly share keys. Simple and done.

      The general rule is, "You don't get what you expect, you get what you inspect."

      You can trust that if someone is allowed to break the rule/law, they will break it. Just sandbox those damn apps already, Apple!

  • Oh great... are we going to get Steve Jobs testifying in front of congress now?

  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2018 @08:11PM (#56774634) Journal

    That's one of the main reasons I don't use whatsapp - it's model depends on grabbing your contact book and making a worldwide graph of connections. I'm in it whether I want to be or not simply because some of my friends use it.

  • Why did Apple allow this to begin with?
  • This is a consolidation of power for facebook and other big companies. They used this expansion technique to get big, now by taking away this method you block other innovative, maybe less evil technologies to ever become that popular. This technique used to be the main driver for growing.