Apple has quietly changed its App Store rules, limiting developers’ access to iPhone address books, Bloomberg first reported. The changes come in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, which prompted Apple to criticize the social media giant for its handling of user data.
Specifically, developers may no longer create databases — or share or sell databases — of address book information they collect from iPhone users. Such information could include names, phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and even photos. Apple also now requires developers to get consent from users for each specific use of their contact list.
Without such restrictions, developers have typically used address book information for marketing purposes or have sold the information. Apple CEO Tim Cook was critical of the way Facebook let third-party developers handle data this way, after it was revealed how the shady analytics firm Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook data.
“The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike, and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view, it shouldn’t exist,” Cook said in March.
Meanwhile, Apple has highlighted other steps it’s taken to promote user privacy, such as new Safari-based efforts to counter tracking.