Apple punishes Google for data collection app

Apple punishes Google for data collection app

Apple revoked Google's ability to offer its employees internal-only iPhone apps, likely causing significant disruption to the search giant.

On Tuesday, the technology news site TechCrunch published a report detailing Facebook's research app and its public use, which violated the rules of Apple's program.

Google and Facebook rely on the enterprise certificate to test the iPhone versions of the apps they're making.

Canahuati made no mention of the fact that the "Facebook Research" app was found to be suspiciously similar to Onavo, the Facebook-owned VPN app Apple yanked previous year for similarly concerning privacy violations.

Today, it turns out that Apple has also blocked Google's internal iOS apps. This app is completely voluntary and always has been.

Facebook's app, known as Research, gave the social network access to all the data flowing from the device it was installed on.

Shortly after Google's apology, Apple followed through and revoked Google's enterprise certificate too. This resulted in Google's pre-release beta apps as well as employee-only apps, for example those for using Google's shuttle bus or coffee shops, stopping working. He also characterized data collection practices by companies such as Google and Facebook as "surveillance".




But the company seemed confident it would quickly regain its access. Apps that it said "may not work" included internal versions of Facebook, Workplace, Instagram and the Ride app, which helps workers with transportation. "We designed our Enterprise Developer Program exclusively for the internal distribution of apps within an organization".

So while the rules apply equally to all companies, Apple didnt hesitate to react to the unintended use of the enterprise certificate with Google.

Both tech giants have now had their certificates restored, allowing access to their internal iOS apps.

Naturally, Apple revoked Facebook's and Google's certificates once the news hit, despite the latter taking preemptive action by taking down its offending app. For starters, the apps were siphoning personal data from phones. That was the case with "Facebook Research".

A Facebook spokesperson told MobileSyrup in a January 31st, 2019 email that "key facts about this market research program" were ignored. People participated in this program with full knowledge that Facebook was sponsoring this research, and were paid for it. The social-networking company also monitored teens, paying them $20 a month if they signed up with parental consent.

The problem: both companies were misusing an Apple developer system to circulate a pair of iOS apps to consumers outside the official App Store-a violation of Apple's policy.

If it was the former tactic, an old Chinese saying that goes "Kill the chicken to scare the monkey" would summarise it well, though the two chickens Apple has put the knife in are much fatter than most monkeys. It was using its enterprise access to distribute a market research app. DoorDash, Amazon, and Sonos are all doing the same thing.

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