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Apple clarifies location-sharing rules for apps, removes offending software

Apple appears to have started cracking down on apps that share users’ location data with third parties without adhering to its rules about the practice. 

In emails saying that it has undergone a “re-evaluation” of the practice, Apple clarified that location data can only be shared with third parties if explicit consent is gained from the user, and then if the sharing is for approved purposes, 9to5Mac reports.

It seems that a number of apps have not been abiding by these rules, and as a result Apple has been removing them from the App Store, pending their developers bringing them into line with its rules.

In addition to gaining explicit consent to share this data, Apple appears to be keen for apps to specifically detail why this data is being shared.

The spectre of Cambridge Analytica

Apple doesn’t appear to have changed its rules at this point; it’s merely doubling down on enforcing the rules it already has in place.

No doubt its decision to do this now has a lot to do with both the upcoming GDPR regulation, as well as the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal.

This scandal saw millions of users’ Facebook data shared without their consent via a third-party app, so it seems clear that Apple is making sure that apps on its own platform don’t fall foul of the same issue.

Whatever the reason, giving more information to users about how their data is used is never a bad thing, and if Apple catches a couple of rogue apps in the process then it will have done its job properly.

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