UPDATED 19:47 EST / JANUARY 31 2019


In latest privacy dispute, Apple revokes, then restores Google’s enterprise apps


Apple Inc. today revoked Google LLC’s Enterprise Developer Program certificate following a similar move against Facebook Inc. earlier in the week.

The certificates are used to run applications outside of the iOS App Store for testing purposes and for internal applications. Update: TechCrunch reported late Thursday that Apple had restored the apps.

In Google’s case, the revocation resulted in internal early iOS versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail and other prerelease beta apps, along with a number of employee-only apps, to stop functioning, according to The Verge.

The decision to revoke Google’s access appears to stem from a report from TechCrunch that Google was offering an app called Screenwise Meter, an opt-in app designed to monitor iPhone phone usage.

Like Facebook’s VPN app, which had a similar purpose, the app breached the terms of Apple’s Enterprise Developer Program in that it took advantage of the enterprise certificate, which is intended solely for internal use.

A Google spokesperson said that “we’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon.” Apple said separately that “we are working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates very quickly.”

Google has shut down the app in question. “The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program,” a Google spokeswoman told CNET. “This was a mistake and we apologize.”

Regaining access to the Enterprise Developer Program may not take long for Google, with Facebook saying that Apple has restored its access to enterprise certificates.

“We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored,” the Facebook spokesperson told The New York Times. “We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.”

Despite moving to comply with Apple demands, Facebook continued to defend the program. Pedro Canahuati, vice president production engineering and security, claimed in an internal memo to employees that “asking users to allow us to collect data on their device usage is a highly efficient way of getting industry data from closed ecosystems, such as iOS and Android. We believe this is a valid method of market research.”

Photo: Pexels

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