Apple has recently updated its App Store rules and guidelines, revising several key areas and introducing a number of new rules based on various policies that have been bought to light over the last six months. Mainly due to parents allowing their kids total freedom of an iPad/iPhone & access to the iTunes store.
One of the major areas Apple has focused on is clarifying its guidelines regarding apps for children. This has come to light due to the upcoming educational policy changes and the expansion of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) earlier this year (2013).
These new rules prevent developers from collecting information from children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent, which makes sense and perhaps should have been done ages ago. Developers were limited to the information they could collect, such as name, address, and telephone number, now the COPPA now restricts access to photographs, video, and audio as well.
17.3 Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children’s privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user’s age
17.4 Apps that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information (e.g. name, address, email, location, photos, videos, drawings, persistent identifiers, the ability to chat, or other personal data) from a minor must comply with applicable children’s privacy statutes.
Apple has also created a whole new section on “Kids Apps” as it prepares to implement sweeping changes to its educational program with the introduction of iOS 7. As part of its efforts to increase iOS device usage in schools, Apple will allow children under age 13 to own and operate individual iTunes accounts for the first time.
The important stuff for us Gamblers
As well as changing its guidelines regarding children & Apps, Apple have implemented 2 new guidelines that relate to gambling. All Apps that offer real money gaming are now required to be free (sweet!) and they are not allowed to use in-app purchases to offer players credit or currency to use in such games.
20.5 Apps that offer real money gaming (e.g. sports betting, poker, casino games, horse racing) must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store
20.6 Apps that use IAP to purchase credit or currency to use in conjunction with real money gaming will be rejected
Apple has also introduced a new guideline that prevents apps “whose use may result in physical harm” and provided a slight wording change to guideline 2.25, which first made headlines earlier this year when it was cited in the rejection of prominent app discovery title AppGratis. Under the new terms, apps that mimic the App Store will not be rejected if they have been approved for a specific need.
So overall, not a bad update, seems Apple is taking issue on security and child protection seriously which is never a bad thing. For us gamblers, it just means a bit more work for the bookies, casinos and poker rooms to make sure they are up to scratch.