Apple said seven months ago it would begin outlawing apps on its iOS App Store that use a device’s universal device identifier, or UDID. Reports are rolling in that indicate the company has started to actually enforce this policy.
UDIDs are a unique string of numbers associated with a device that can let developers of apps track their apps. Or when passed between apps, UDIDs allow ad networks, for example, to build a profile noting user habits and preferences associated with that device, which allows them to more carefully target their ads.
The rejection of their use doesn’t seem to be completely universal just yet, however. TechCrunch says Apple’s process is happening like this: “Two of the 10 review teams started doing blanket rejections of apps that access UDIDs this week. Next week, that will rise to four [of] the ten teams, and keep escalating until all 10 teams are turning down apps that are still using UDIDs.”
This, of course, comes as Apple has gotten some negative attention for its handling of privacy violations — including approving apps for sale in its App Store that have violated Apple’s privacy guidelines by uploading users’ contacts to the app developers’ servers. Some members of Congress have been sniffing around this privacy issue and others, including a loophole in Apple’s software that allows the uploading of user photo libraries.
And it’s just a few days since the Federal Trade Commission made it known that it is concerned about comprehensive tracking when it comes to personal data, and that it wants to see “privacy by design” built into consumer web services and apps.