No selling of user data, Apple tells health app developers

HealthKit API terms of use disallow passing of data to ad firms, data brokers

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No selling of user data, Apple tells health app developers Apple may have put some health app developers in a bind, as many rely on ad revenue to survive. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 2, 2014

Developers using Apple's HealthKit API will not be permitted to share user data with third parties for any purposes other than medical research, according to the fitness tech platform's terms of use.

According to a report from the Register, the licensing agreement specifically prohibits developers from sharing any data with "advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers".

The HealthKit API for iOS 8 have been available to developers since June and allow data sharing between the OS and healthcare apps without additional input from the user.

"The data that these apps can collect is highly valuable to a number of different businesses, both because of its sensitivity and because of the growing numbers of people using them, whether for weight loss, fitness or the management of chronic conditions," said Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, a specialist in both technology law and digital health apps. "Given the huge growth in interest in digital health, it is unsurprising that advertisers, for example, are keen to target health-related data."

But the news may hit some developers hard as many existing health apps are free to download and rely on advertising revenue.

Apple's upcoming launch of the iPhone 6 will debut iOS 8. Reports of the Cupertino, California-based company's strict line with HealthKit developers comes as it helps the FBI investigate a possible privacy breach in its iCloud service that allowed the theft of several intimate photos of celebrities.

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