February 21, 2019

After Facebook, Apple bans Google from running internal iOS apps

02 February 2019, 04:57 | Casey Mitchell

Apple breaks Google’s internal iOS apps for the same reason it broke Facebook’s apps

Facebook is not sorry about its shady 'research' app

The block came because Google sidestepped the App Store and took advantage of Apple's developer enterprise program, which is created to let companies internally distribute apps, TechCrunch reported Wednesday. Analysts estimate that they're also among the most used apps on peoples' phones, too.

If this was a warning shot of sorts from the iPhone maker, what would happen if its pro-privacy CEO ever decides ... that's it.

Google said January 31 that Apple has also revoked its enterprise certificate, blocking Google employees from testing new app features on iPhones.

Canahuati did, however, fail to mention that Facebook's research app was strikingly similar to its Onavo VPN app launched a year ago which was found to be tracking users' data and was also pulled from Apple's app store. The disruptions were earlier reported by technology website The Verge.

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Recent days have seen the simmering tension between Apple and Facebook reach an unprecedented level, after months of back-and-forth sniping, veiled potshots and a cold war between the two tech titans that suddenly became quasi-hot. It's now punishing Google, too. Without this option, some of the companies' most important development work is disrupted. It also told workers to install the public versions of apps from the app store.

"First launched in 2012, Screenwise lets users earn gift cards for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data". That move not only affects the app but more critically prevents Facebook employees from using internal versions of Facebook's core iOS app as well as such apps as Messenger and Instagram.

Google and Facebook likely could have avoided these problems if their data collection apps were tied to different certificates and accounts from the ones the company uses to test App Store apps and run their own company operations.

"Less than 5% of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens". It's unclear how this will impact that deal when renewal discussions begin. The app was a voluntary download, with users 13-to-35 receiving compensation in exchange for allowing Facebook - and possibly 3rd party app developers - to track almost all their smartphone activity.

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She added that fewer than 5 percent of users in the research program were teenagers and that all had obtained signed parental consent forms.

Shortly after excommunicating Facebook's internal iOS apps, by canceling the certificate, Apple did the same to Google, which confessed and apologized for using its iOS enterprise certificate to distribute its own data-snarfing app called Screenwise Meter.

But Facebook had no comeback for sidestepping Apple's rules.

In an interview Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said of the dispute with Apple, "Obviously we want to be in full compliance with all of our partners".

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