Apple's moves this week to clamp down on policy violations come as the company itself hit the headlines on Tuesday (29 January), after a major security flaw was unearthed in its FaceTime application, prompting NY governor Andrew Cuomo to issue a consumer alert, calling the bug an "egregious breach of privacy".
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. Apple restored Facebook's privileges on Thursday. Google also had a similar app to Facebook's Research app named Screenwise Meter app that monitored how people use their iPhones.
This is a never seen or done before move against one of the major Silicon Valley peers.
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. This VPN app offers iOS and Android users gift cards in return for giving up certain data. This move would provide Facebook an upper hand over its social networking competitors. The latter was somewhat proactive, pulling the app itself before Apple could react.
So it looks like Apple has given both Google and Facebook a slap on the wrist for using their internal developer certificates on external apps. The DEP is created to help developers distribute internal employee-only apps, not apps geared for the general public.
The Macintosh maker said that these practices generally amount to a breach in agreement. However, Facebook was abusing the system to distribute the iOS apps to consumers, Apple said.
Many firms use this to distribute apps that might contain private information to employees but not the wider public.
Facebook app for iOS users has been updated to version 206.0, and while it brings under the hood improvements for other iPhone users, it also introduces native higher resolution support. The user who initiated the thread says that they were able to fix their connectivity issues by rolling back the date to the 29th, but another user says that this didn't do anything, and that rolling any further back "results in an endlessly spinning loading logo". But Onavo had other ways of collecting consumer data that bypassed some of Apple's restrictions. Google also pays Apple something like billions each year to be the default search engine on products like the iPhone. The social media giant clarifies by saying that the people were clear about everything right from the start.