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I am currently creating a (very simple) Objective-C client to send basic statistical data to my server for an iPhone app - just things like the state of the app (first-launch or launch, error, etc), along with the make/model/version (i.e.: "iPod touch 4.2"). No personally identifiable information or location data is sent.

Is there anything, in the Apple Developer agreement or otherwise, that states that I must notify the user if I am doing this?

I'm not interested in selling the data or anything, I just want to use the data to make my apps better. I am not adverse to telling the user I am doing this if it is required, I just don't want to scare the users (the paranoid "oooh, they're tracking me, they know exactly where I am" crowd) if I don't have to.

Thanks for any advice.

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am not a lawyer, etc.

Take a look at IOS Standard Agreement 3.3.9 which says collection of "user or device data" must be consented to. I think that it's cool to collect data relating to your own application's behavior. For instance, I track what are essentially "page hits" within my travel app to try to judge popularity (I do disclose it, because I don't think it's a big deal).

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Great explanation, thanks! –  Chris Feb 10 '11 at 2:45
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IANAL TINLA

If you read the agreement, then go to Section 3.3.7 - Local Laws, User Privacy, Location Services and Mapping

This paragraph is extracted from there:

  • You and the Application must comply with all applicable privacy and data collection laws and regulations with respect to any collection, transmission, maintenance, processing, use, etc. of the user's location data or personal information by the Application. In addition, the use of any personal information should be limited solely as necessary to provide services or functionality for Your Application (e.g., the use of collected personal information for telemarketing purposes is prohibited (unless expressly consented to by the user) ). You and the Application must also take appropriate steps to protect any such location data or personal information from unauthorized disclosure or access.

Note that in many locations, strong data protection laws are in place - if you come under European jurisdiction then you would have to request permission at some stage legally.

It basically comes down to whether or not the data you wish to collect constitutes personal data. Usage information does under most legal definitions, hence why most apps ask if you wish to participate in "reporting schemes" and the like.

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I know zero about the Apple Developer agreement, but you should tell your users if you're using their bandwidth. If you phone home without telling them, they're going to be a lot more paranoid than if you did tell them. Be upfront and let them know exactly what you're doing.

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