Apple quietly closed an important privacy loophole while preaching about its data protection credentials

  • Bloomberg reports that Apple has closed a loophole that allowed third-party apps to gather an iPhone user’s contacts and potentially sell on the data.
  • The rule change was reportedly made last week and restricts what developers can take and do with contact information.
  • It comes after Apple made a big deal about its privacy standards following the Facebook data scandal.

Apple has quietly closed a loophole that allowed third-party apps to potentially gather an iPhone user’s contacts and sell on the data, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said the Apple rule change came into force last week and stops a practice that has been employed for years by developers in a bid to “juice growth and make money.”

Apple now reportedly restricts the contact information app developers can take from users and they are no longer allowed to use data to build databases of information. Bloomberg said developers can ask for contacts, but must tell the iPhone user what they plan to do with it.

Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.

The company has closed the loophole at the same time as making a big deal about its privacy standards following the Facebook data scandal, in which Cambridge Analytica harvested the information of 87 million users.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a number of thinly-disguised attacks on Facebook by emphasising his company’s own pro-privacy credentials.

Speaking at Duke University in North Carolina last month, Cook said: “We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy. So we choose a different path: Collecting as little of your data as possible. Being thoughtful and respectful when it’s in our care. Because we know it belongs to you.”

Such was the strength of feeling that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg responded forcefully to Cook – a rare public spat between two of Silicon Valley’s big beasts. “Mark and I strongly disagree with their characterization of our product,” Sandberg said at Code Conference in May.

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