Apple has delayed plans to introduce new rules about data tracking, including advertising, in games and apps for children in order to give developers more time to prepare for the changes.
The revised rules – which were announced in June – will prevent developers from including third-party ads and tools in apps listed in the App Store’s kids category in a bid to better protect children’s privacy. They will also see in-app purchases and external links relegated to gated sections of the app that only adults/parents can access. However, developers can continue to collect data themselves – and Apple’s own analytics will similarily be unaffected – and the tech firm has no way of seeing “what [devs] do this with [the data]” once it’s been collected.
“We aren’t backing off on this important issue, but we are working to help developers get there,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said via an email statement to The Washington Post. “Generally we have heard from them that there is widespread support for what we are trying to do to protect kids.”
Some developers, however, have hit back at the proposals, stating Apple may inadvertently legitimate push data collection “into the shadows”.
“This will simply kill the kids app category,” Dylan Collins – chief executive of SuperAwesome, an organisation which helps app developers manage child-privacy laws – told the NYT. Apple’s changes are “easy to perceive as ham-fisted”, he added, stating a belief that Apple doesn’t seem to understand how the changes will affect the sector.
The Washington Post’s article includes several interviews with a number of concerned developers who believe Apple’s new guidelines may ultimately make it difficult for “the good guys” to operate, too.
“We just wanted clarity on how best to follow the guidelines,” said Gerald Youngblood, the creator of YouTube alternative Tankee. “I understand we want to clean up the bad actors, but what does it do to the good guys?”