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Apple bans iOS developers from selling user Healthkit data

Looks to appease user privacy concerns a week before iOS 8 launch
Tue Sep 02 2014, 09:52

iPhone 5S iOS 8APPLE HAS MOVED to tighten its Healthkit privacy policy, warning developers that they must not sell on user data.

Apple announced Healthkit in June as a hub that collects data from third-party health apps, such as a user's blood pressure, heart rate, diet and exorcise. However, with Apple spilling few details about the service at its WWDC unveiling, Healthkit quickly drew concerns about security and user privacy.

In order to appease users ahead of the imminent launch of iOS 8, Apple has updated the privacy policy for its Healthkit database and Health apps.

The new rules, seen by The Guardian, tell developers that they must not hand over user data to advertisers, with Apple warning that they "must not sell an end-user's health information collected through the Healthkit APIs to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers."

However, the rules add that developers can share their data with "third parties for medical research purposes" as long as they get the user's consent. This comes despite recent revelations that it is medical professionals who are stopping the Internet of Things from reaching its full potential

The privacy policy says, "Your application must not access the Healthkit APIs unless it is primarily designed to provide health and/or fitness services, and this usage is clearly evident in your marketing text and user interface.

"You and your application may not use the Healthkit APIs, or any information obtained through the Healthkit APIs, for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services in connection with your application ([for examply,] not for serving advertising)."

Apple likely will give us a closer look at Healthkit's capabilities next week, with the firm having sent out invitations for an upcoming launch event on 9 September. There, the firm is also expected to debut the iPhone 6 and its first wearable, which likely will tie in with the health features of iOS 8. µ


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