The App Store has had a number of important changes to its contents in recent days. In particular, Apple has decided to remove the applications that had parental control as a utility and that resembled the “Time on Screen” feature that Apple introduced with iOS 12 last year. As a result of this little controversy, Cupertino’s company has published an official communication where they have wanted to detail the reasons for this decision.
Following the announcement of this decision by the Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller, an official statement has been required in order to confirm the official reasons for this withdrawal. The bad language pointed out that the parental control applications were in direct competition with the native feature “Time on Screen” and that is why it had been withdrawn. If this had been true, we would have been facing a case of unfair competition, but it seems that Apple wants to hide behind the violation of the privacy of users who use these apps.
Apple explains why it has removed certain applications from the App Store
The press release we are going to refer to can be consulted in full here, at the Apple website. To make it easier for you, we have translated it below.
Apple has always believed that parents should have tools to manage the use of their children’s devices. That’s why we created, and continue to develop, ‘Screen Time’. Other apps on the App Store, such as Balance Screen Time by Moment Health and Verizon Smart Family, give parents the power to balance the benefits of technology with other activities that help young minds learn and grow.
We recently removed several parental control applications from the App Store, and we did so for a simple reason: they put users’ privacy and security at risk. It’s important to understand why and how this happened.
During the last year, we noticed that several of these parental control applications used a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management or MDM. MDM provides a third party with control and access over a device and its most sensitive information, including user location, application usage, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history. We began exploring this use of MDM by non-business developers in early 2017 and updated our guidelines based on that work in mid-2017.
MDM has legitimate uses. Sometimes companies install MDM on business devices to maintain better control over their proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky, and a clear violation of App Store policies, for a private, consumer-centric application business to install MDM control on a customer’s device. Beyond the control that the application can exercise over the user’s device, research has shown that MDM profiles can be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes.
Parents should not have to exchange their fears about the use of their children’s devices for privacy and security risks, and the App Store should not be a platform to force this choice. No one but you should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device.
When we become aware of these guideline violations we communicate these violations to the application developers, giving them 30 days to submit an updated application to avoid interruption of availability on the App Store. Several developers released updates to align their applications with these policies. Those that did not were removed from the App Store.
We created the App Store to provide a secure and dynamic marketplace where developers and entrepreneurs can share their ideas with users around the world, and users can be confident that the applications they discover meet Apple’s standards for security and accountability.
Apple has always supported third-party applications on the App Store that help parents manage their children’s devices. Contrary to what The New York Times reported over the weekend, this is not a matter of competition. It’s a matter of security.
In this category of applications, and in all categories, we are committed to providing an innovative and competitive ecosystem of applications. There are many tremendously successful applications that offer Apple-like features and services in categories such as messaging, maps, email, music, web browsers, photos, note-taking applications, contact managers and payment systems, just to name a few. We are committed to providing a place for these applications to thrive by improving the user experience for everyone.
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Apple continues to work on our security
As we can read, this withdrawal is not a competition issue , but a rather important security issue. We believe that this decision together with this press release reinforces Apple’s image in the aspect of the privacy of the users of the App Store and above all that we are convinced that the applications in the store are totally reliable. If we believed it before, now much more.
We believe that any application that tries to track our behavior on the net or worse, the behavior of minors, should be removed immediately and here we can not say more than ‘chapó’ by Apple.
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