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Apple Grants Parental Control Apps Special API Access

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Jun 4, 2019, 9:10 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Apple announced changes to its App Store rules, mostly to tighten data privacy across the board. But Apple, for the first time, added special exceptions to its rules for apps providing parental controls, most of which require much deeper, more sensitive access to software APIs in order to be effective. Parental control apps have long made use of MDM (mobile device management) APIs, which were originally intended for use within organizations, for enforcing company policies on company devices, for example. In April, Apple removed many parental control apps from the App Store for improper use of MDM APIs. The new rules allow MDM use by "in limited cases, companies utilizing MDM for parental controls. MDM apps may not sell, use, or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose, and must commit to this in their privacy policy." Apple added similar new language to its policy on VPN APIs, allowing "certain types of apps — such as those for parental control, content blocking, and security — from approved providers." Other changes restrict the use of user data, even anonymous data. Another new rule prohibits apps that "facilitate purchase of ammunition."

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