Apple Developer Guidelines Will Make User Consent Compulsory to Grab Contact Data

February 16, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Apple is ready to bring about a change. Following the furor that broke out after revelations that a bunch of apps on iOS platform were sending and storing contact information from user devices without their knowledge and consent, Apple has come out with an official response saying that it will make changes to the developer guidelines to making it compulsory to get explicit user consent before grabbing the contact information.

The change, however, will not force developers to make an overhaul to the existing app codes, it seems. On a preliminary analysis many experts say that developers can just accommodate the requirement with subtle changes, especially since Apple does not say in clear terms to developers how to get user consent.

However, the change will severely affect apps which work using contact data, especially if a user decides not to allow sharing it. Everything is OK if the user says yes, but what if he says no?

According to experts, the easiest way to tackle this is that iOS will have to pretend like the address book is empty on the device. Otherwise, the developers will have to make in-depth changes to the existing codes of such apps.

Probably, the apps which need address book data for proper functioning will have to include that information in the request than just asking for consent to share contact information.

Meanwhile, major apps which came under fire for the unfavorable practice have introduced changes to the way they work by introducing consent request to the users.

However, Facebook app won’t make any changes since it clearly tells that the data will be shared, says company officials. Twitter, on the other hand, is mulling over a change in their update.

Well, the move is positive as far as privacy issues are concerned. However, many experts recommend hash method which will obscure the data instead of sending the exact contact information to servers for the purpose. But it seems Apple will take time to consider it.

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