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Apple App Guidelines Tweaked for Privacy

Apple has made some adjustments to its app guidelines for developers that are aimed squarely at children’s privacy.

The new guidelines are part of a companywide strategy shift that includes a much bigger emphasis on education and also reflect changes in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

COPPA was introduced in 1998 to prevent website owners from collecting personal information from children through software products. At the beginning of 2013, the Government expanded COPPA’s scope to include videos and photos. Apple is one of the first big companies to publicly embrace the new standard.

The new guidelines read:

17.3 Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children’s privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user’s age

17.4 Apps that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information (e.g. name, address, email, location, photos, videos, drawings, persistent identifiers, the ability to chat, or other personal data) from a minor must comply with applicable children’s privacy statutes.

Apple’s new guidelines are a reminder to app developers of all stripes that even though the mobile world still feels like the Wild West, it’s definitely on the radar of regulators.

Are you making apps that could be impacted by these changes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.