Google Discovered Collecting User Data From Apple Via Internal Apps

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

Apple has pulled the plug on Google's ability to distribute internal iOS apps a day after the company did the same to Facebook.

Having its enterprise certificates revoked meant that a number of internal Facebook apps stopped working on iOS. "To be clear, this didn't have an impact on our consumer-facing services", a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. On Wednesday morning, Apple revoked Facebook's "enterprise developer certificate" and paralyzed the social giant from deploying its internal iPhone apps. Recently, several instances have been reported about companies using Apple's enterprise program to distribute more and more apps to consumers. iOS developer Alex Fajkowski has discovered that Amazon, DoorDash and Sonos have handed out beta versions of their app to non-employees.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone did not immediately respond to other questions.

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment. Which, of course, caused a bit of mayhem, which is most likely exactly what Apple wanted - after all, the company is well-known for taking security seriously.

February 2018: Facebook quietly inserts a "Protect" link into its iOS app, which leads to a free app called Onavo Protect, a VPN owned by Facebook.

Google's "Screenwise Meter" ignored this and would gather data on websites visited, IP addresses and cookies beyond Google's own employees. This may force Apple to take action against these apps.

Analysis After briefly punishing Facebook and Google for violating the rules of its enterprise developer program, Apple has relented.

FOLLOW on Twitter for all the latest app news. The company disabled access to Google's internal iOS apps, such as pre-release versions of Gmail, Hangouts and Maps, as well as employee-only apps for the company's cafes and buses.

June 2018: Apple changes the App Store rules to ban apps that "collect information about which other apps are installed on a user's device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing".

Facebook may have just been caught spying on teens' phones under the guise of "market research", but the company isn't about to apologize for it.

But what got Facebook and Google into hot water with Apple was the way both companies distributed their respective data collection apps. For starters, the apps were siphoning personal data from phones.

"This is a market research program that helps us understand consumer behavior and trends to build better mobile products", Canahuati wrote. It is now punishing Google, too. The internet search company said some of its internal apps that run on iPhone software were temporarily disrupted. Apple may have to revamp its enterprise developer program so that this secret practice is not repeated.

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