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Apple Removes Parental Control Apps Over Privacy Concerns

Apple removed parental control apps from the app store that violated the privacy policy of the company.

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Tech giant Apple proves to be staying true to its recent advocacy of consumer privacy. They recently announced that they are removing apps from the iOS App Store that parents used to track their child’s screen time on a digital device. Their reasoning was that these apps put privacy at risk through the use of Mobile Device Management (MDM).

Scrutinizing Apps Since 2018

Apple had reportedly started to review third party screen time tracking apps in December of last year after their own iOS 12 update. The update included built-in screen monitoring tools, leading many developers to believe that the scrutiny was an attempt to weed out the competition.

The third-parties were cited as using background location, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and MDM solutions to track screen time. Some applications were categorized as violating two areas of the software requirement regulations for Apple. These two guidelines stated that background services must be used for their intended services and APIs, which allow for apps to access features of an operating system, must be public and used by apps for an intended purpose.

Ultimatum for Developers

Just a few days ago, Apple again put parental control applications on the spot. They stated that the monitoring applications relied on technology that was invasive. The primary issue was with MDM, which is a software that allows IT administrators to control and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Some of the key features include:

  • Device tracking
  • Password enforcement
  • App distribution
  • Camera permissions
  • Browsing history

While there are some benefits of using the management solution in a business setting, it was decided that apps that use this technology for a private consumer audience violated Apple’s App Store policies. Developers of these parent monitoring tools were given 30 days to update the app or else they would be removed from the store. An analytics firm along with the New York Times found that 11 out of 17 of these screen-monitoring tools for parents were removed or restricted in the iOS store.

Controversy Over the Take-down

After closely exploring the use of MDM in 2017, Apple updated its privacy guidelines and recently went on the warpath to remove the developers who did not comply. A press release from the company stated, “Apple has always supported third-party apps on the App Store that help parents manage their kids’ devices. Contrary to what The New York Times reported over the weekend, this isn’t a matter of competition. It’s a matter of security.”

Aside from the Times’ dig at the company, others commenters wrote that Apple did not follow their own guidelines when it came to MDM and that 30 days was hardly enough time for a developer to completely revamp an app.

Choose a Company That Values Privacy

Secure Data Recovery puts client’s privacy first as we are an SSAE 18 Type II certified company, follow PCI Security Standards, and operate a Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom when performing a recovery. We are transparent in the services we offer and give a diagnostic report with estimated price and turnaround time for every case we receive. If you need a secure and transparent company to recover files from your personal media, Secure Data Recovery is here 24/7 to take your call at 1-800-388-1266.

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