Apple takes every opportunity to talk up its pro-privacy agenda — and if you’re a developer being hosted in the App Store you’d better show that same level of commitment to users.
The company hasn’t revealed whether it will start pulling apps which don’t comply with these ruling. However, since this covers all new updates to existing apps it seems that any halfway decent or relevant app won’t be able to slip through the cracks.
What prompted Apple’s decision?
Apple hasn’t revealed what prompted this change. It could have been triggered by Europe’s GDPR regulation. In the aftermath of GDPR regulation coming in, Apple gave users the ability to download a copy of all the data Apple has collected about them — including App Store and iTunes activity, Apple ID account and device information, online and retail store activity, AppleCare support history, and more.
However, there’s also no doubt that there is a growing concern about the misuse of user data — as most notably seen through the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook earlier this year. Interestingly, although Apple was never brought up as part of that case, Mark Zuckerberg’s notes for the hearing did mention that there were, “Lots of stories about apps misusing Apple data,” and that Apple had failed to notify people.
Since Zuck did not elaborate on this, it’s impossible to know exactly what he meant by it. It could refer to a 2015 story in which 256 apps were found to have illicitly gather user email addresses, lists of installed apps, serial numbers and other identifying information.
Still, maybe someone at Apple saw that and figured it was better to be safe, rather than sorry!