Apple's new rules prohibit developers from collecting and sharing Contacts data
Apple Inc.’s latest change to their developer guidelines limits how developers use information about iPhone owners’ friends and other contacts, thus preventing them from storing and using data without your consent. As Bloomberg notes, your iOS contacts can contain not just phone numbers and email addresses, but also personal information like photos and birthdays.
Previously, developers had almost unfettered access to the address book, and so could easily transfer all the contact information onto a random server once the user gave contacts permission. Not ideal from a privacy standpoint, as you might imagine.
Apple’s new rules (above) explicitly prevent developers from creating, sharing, or selling databases based on harvested contact info. If developers want to use the contact information for any further purpose, they’ll have to get further permission, placing the onus on you to control access.
Unfortunately, there’s no way Apple can go back and retrieve data that’s already been shared so far so something like the Cambridge Analytica scandal may well still happen. Game developers often ask for contact information to show you friends who also have the app or to let you easily send your friends requests to get them to join the game.
Meanwhile apps like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat ask for contact information to help build your social network, so it’s not just a Google or Apple problem, but a real issue in today’s world of social networks that surely warrants further regulation.