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Apple tightens privacy for kids’ apps with new developer guidelines

On the heels of a report from the WSJ last week about Apple planning to roll out more protections for kids’ apps on iOS, the company has detailed its latest steps to increase privacy and security for young users.

Apple didn’t specify the changes for apps in the kids category on stage during the WWDC keynote, but an update to its App Store Review Guidelines covers the new changes.

Guidelines 1.3 and 5.1.4. In order to help keep kids’ data private, apps in the kids category and apps intended for kids cannot include third-party advertising or analytics software and may not transmit data to third parties. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must follow this guideline by September 3, 2019.

This update should eliminate any possibility of kids’ apps collecting and sending data to third-parties, that is if developers adhere to the new rules.

The most recent investigative report from the WSJ found that 79 out of 80 apps tested that were featured in the iOS App Store used trackers for analytics, ads, or marketing, with the average app using four trackers.

One of the apps that was discovered to be sending children’s data to Facebook was “Curious World.”

There’s a kids’ iOS app called Curious World that, not surprisingly, stars the cute little pants-less monkey. Turns out, the app was collecting my son’s age, name and every book he tapped, and sending that data to Facebook Inc.

You can see the other updated App Store Review Guidelines here.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.