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I'm struggling to understand the following sentence:

You may not collect user or device data without prior user consent, and then only to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application.

What exactly does it mean? Does it mean:

You may not collect data without user consent. If the user agrees to allow you to collect data, you can only collect data to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application.

Why can the phrase “and then only” be used in such a way?

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Looking at the structure, it seems more a comment/ an opinion rather a phrase from some book. Am I right? –  Maulik V Mar 13 at 9:25
    
@MaulikV No, it's actually a phrase from Apple developer documentation. –  Alexey Mar 13 at 11:28
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I think the trouble comes from perceiving the sentence as "(and then only) to provide". But the phrase isn't "and then only". The sentence is semantically grouped as: "(and then) (only to provide)". –  Cornelius Mar 13 at 18:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your explanation is exactly correct. I couldn't have said it better myself.

"And then only" says, "Is the first condition met?" In this case, the first condition is that the user consents to releasing information. Yes? We have that consent? Then and only then we have to ask ourselves another question. "Will the information help to fix a problem that the user is having?" Only if the answer to BOTH questions is yes, may we extract the information. If the user denies consent ("No, I will NOT tell you what operating system I use") -or- If no answer the user gives will help us solve the problem, then WE CAN'T ASK!

That language very typical of the language you will see in employee manuals and such originally written in English.

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Yes, your rephrasing is correct. This is an example of when parts of the sentence are omitted because they are understood from the earlier half.

The full sentence would be:

You may not collect user or device data without prior user consent, and then [you may collect user or device data] only to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application.

There's still extra meaning to be explained, though: and then indicates that

  • you have obtained consent and
  • you then collected the user or device data

It could be rephrased as:

You may not collect user or device data without prior user consent - and if you do obtain consent, you may only collect the data to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application.

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Assuming we were going to stick with the original phrasing, I might say something like "and even then, only". Symbolically, we're saying:

You may not do A unless B, and even then (even if B is true), only under condition C.

This is not the best phrasing. I think your wording is more clear, and I'd prefer that over the original.

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