In response to Apple changing its Terms of Service, geolocation data provider Thasos Group decided to make the difficult decision to completely eliminate the use of iOS data in their service. The result has been a significant decrease in compliance concerns from hedge funds who value geolocation data.
Apple’s TOS Change
In late 2016 or early 2017 Apple changed its App Store Terms of Service for App Developers to better address the growing concerns of individuals about the privacy of their data collected by iPhone apps. In the wake of these changes, Apple has slowly started to remove third-party apps from their App Store for violating the new terms.
The most concerning changes for the alternative data industry are found in Section 5.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines. These changes can be summarized as follows:
- App developers must obtain consent from users to collect their data. In addition, users must be informed how and where their data is being used.
- Data collected for one purpose may not be repurposed without additional user consent.
- Data collected by apps sold through Apple’s App Store may only be used for two reasons, to improve the app or to support the serving of advertising.
In addition to simply asking users to provide their permission to collect data, Apple has required iOS app developers to explain what the data is used for and how it is shared. In addition, Apple has started cracking down on instances where the data is used for purposes unrelated to improving the user experience.
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