Privacy and Apps has become a huge concern for both Android and iOS lately. Ever since Path made worldwide news when they uploaded user address books in their entirety to their private servers, users and even congress has been screaming foul play. Privacy pundits everywhere are demanding a crack down on what phones can tell an app about the user and their device.
Apple and Google are under the scrutiny of Congress to crackdown on privacy especially on mobile devices.
About six months ago, around the time a Wall Street Journal study revealed that several apps on both platforms were taking more data off phones than they really needed, Apple let developers know they were going to start rejecting apps that called for the devices UDID. It looks like Apple is going to ramp that up starting now.
More after the break
The UDID is a unique identifying number for each and every connected Apple mobile device. Every single mobile device has something similar including Android. Google is under fire from the French government right now under whether or not they anonymize an Android devices unique identification number before or after it reaches the server.
TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler has said that several of the bigger mobile social developers told her that Apple has instructed them to start moving away from UDIDs.
Fluik the Canadian development house with popular iOS titles “Office Jerk” and “Plumber Crack”had told Cutler that they’ve already moved away from UDID’s and they have updates ready, however their CEO Victor Rubba said he’s waiting to see how the situation shakes out in the next few days.
This issue of privacy and UDID’s was kicked up a notch when Congressmen Henry Waxman and GK Butterfield sent letters to 34 different iOS developers last week asking how they collect and use data coming from a consumers phone.
“This is definitely happening,” Andy Yang CEO of Playhaven told Cutler “In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising. Everybody’s trying to make their own choices about what to use instead.”
Some developers are getting past the issue by asking user permission before having access to their UDID. This would be similar to the permissions screen that comes up on any Android phone when you install any Android app. On Apple devices it would be the same as the permission bubble that pops up for push notifications, location based apps or any other time an iOS app needs permission for something.
Yang is concerned that the opt-in rate won’t be that high. I personally don’t think an opt-in or permission system would be so bad. In watching many people add apps to their Android or iPhones they often just click right through it the way most people do with a Terms of Service page for anything on the internet.
It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out.