Apple’s store rules regarding kid’s data tightened

Apple’s store rules regarding kid’s data tightened

With the addition of new rules in July to the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), Apple has reviewed its store guidelines so as to reflect the new requirements. The company’s new revised guidelines will provide a stronger protection for the users of the apps and also limit the various ways in which the developers for the apps can deal with the information on users. In the amended COPPA rules, the definition of the personal information has been expanded with the inclusion of 4 categories namely screen or user name, audio files with the voice from a child or photos and videos with the image of a child, persistent identifiers and geolocation information.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection ActApple has also added Kids Apps section to its review guidelines with the section laying out further requirements for the apps that are intended for the children below 13 years. According to the new requirements, the apps must contain a privacy policy, must request for parental consent for any kind of ecommerce such as in-app buying and they must be specifically made in the age ranges of 9-11, 6-8 and 5 and under 5. These new guidelines come just a few months after Apple had to settle a lawsuit that was alleging it had permitted apps developers make it easy for the kids to spend huge sums in gaming without the parental consent. In the settlement, apple gave the eligible plaintiffs iTunes gift cards worth $5 dollars.

In the new apps store guidelines, it has also been stated that apps meant for kids should not offer ads by targeting the behavior of the users and that any contextual advertising that takes place be age appropriate. The store rules regarding to privacy have also been updated so as to reflect the new COPPA guidelines. The request for date of birth can now only be done in issues to do with compliance and the sharing of any personal information such as photos, drawings, videos, chat capability and location data has to follow the applicable privacy requirements of the children.

With these new changes in the apps store rules, app developers many now be forced to reconsider the analytic services and 3rd party kind of advertising that they are able to include in the apps especially if the services and adverts are dependent on capturing the location data or persistent identifiers without enough consent and disclosure.

In addition to the new guidelines, Apple has also added a rule which bans any apps that may any physical injury, which is appears to be like the formalization of Apple’s underlying principle meant to reject CarrotPop, a phone tossing app, which the company banned recently claiming that it encouraged behavior that could result in the users’ device damage.  New rules have also been added in regards to the apps that are linked with gambling with the new requirements stating that the apps must be free, don’t permit in-app purchasing and they operate only in the areas where real money gambling has been allowed.