ACT was active on both coasts this week: Member Outreach Director Sara Kloek and ACT President Jonathan Zuck met up with members at the Microsoft TechEd Conference in Orlando Florida, while I was attending Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) and joined many of our app-building members in celebrating creativity and innovation on mobile devices.
The WWDC was buzzing with enthusiasm over the new APIs in iOS6, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for iPhone and iPad devices. Many of my fellow app developers were excited about enhancements that help us make our apps more transparent about the use of private information.
Apple introduced just in time notifications for the use of contact data, photos, reminders and calendar info. When your app is about to use any of this information, it shows a prompt similar to what the user sees when an app is about to use location data. Just in time notifications are great because they prompt the user only when the information is needed and they provide more context it’s easier to understand why and how certain data will be used.
When showing a just-in-time privacy notification/question, the new API also lets you provide a paragraph of text that describes how and why your app will use this information. This is great news for both users and developers, because apps become more transparent and users can make more informed privacy decisions.
When Apple announced several months ago that it would eliminate the use of the device’s UDID unique identifier by applications, app developers were scrambling to find a solution to keep track of the devices that were in use by an application. Fortunately, version 6 of iOS provides a solid solution that solves this problem for developers by providing a new form of identifier that increases privacy protection for the user: these new identifiers allow developers to keep track of devices while making sure that the identity of users cannot be shared between different app vendors.
Overall, all these enhancements add up to a great win on privacy for both app developers and users alike. At ACT we look forward to incorporating these new enhancements in the materials for our ongoing tour of privacy workshops around the country.