Apple is tightening its grip on apps that violate user privacy.
The firm has begun to pull some apps from the App Store, after finding they were sharing users’ location data with third-parties, according to 9to5mac.
Doing so violates two parts of the App Store Review Guidelines, which states that apps must obtain ‘explicit consent’ to share this type of information.
According to 9to5mac, Apple is removing apps that violate its policy, and informing developers via email of the infraction.
Sharing location data with third-parties violates sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines.
By these sections, an app does not comply with the rules if it ‘transmits user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes.’
Apps must clearly explain how the data is used – and, such uses must relate to improving the user experience, according to 9to5mac.
‘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’s guidelines state.
‘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.’
Apple has cracked down on developers in the past for similar issues, but the latest purge comes amid heightened tensions in the tech community over data and privacy on the heels of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the EU’s General Data protection Regulation.
The firm just recently released its latest iOS, 11.3, with a slew of privacy features designed to give users greater control over their data.
Users will now see a new data privacy information page when they update the software, which will be used to explain a new icon which appears when an Apple feature collects personal information.
The icon will not appear on features such as Apple’s Maps or Siri, for example, because they do not collect user data, whereas it will appear on the App Store or iTunes.
From May the device-maker will also introduce new privacy management tools on the Apple ID website allowing users to get a copy of all their data held by Apple, request a correction, deactivate or delete their account.