Apple to ensure use of Address Book data requires explicit permission


5 Aug 2011
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After last week’s privacy debacle over iOS apps being allowed to access and shunt Address Book data without explicit user permission, Apple faced pressure from U.S. legislators as well. The primary contention of both bloggers and lawmakers is that the offending apps in blatant violation of Apple’s app policies, managed to pass through the stringent App Store vetting process – indicating the company had some idea about what was going on, without stopping it.

A letter addressed to CEO Tim Cook from two U.S. senators, referring to last week’s blog post by Dustin Curtis that highlighted the Address Book privacy issue, asked Apple to make clear its developer guidelines and the app approval process. Apple has until February 29 to respond to the letter.

Late yesterday, Apple announced that iOS apps that require Address Book data will now be forced to seek user approval at several prompts, before being able to access the data.

An Apple spokesperson commented on the issue:

"Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We're working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release."

According to CNET, developers say Apple's new developer policy will not affect them too much, but that of course, apps will have to be modified to comply. In most cases, this will just be a small update. Explicit user permission will be similar to how apps ask users if they can share user data.

Source : Digit
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