Et tu, Google? Following Apple’s shutdown of ‘Facebook Research’, the Cupertino giant also sought to correct similar misbehavior by Google, namely, the illicit distribution of a data collecting app, called Screenwise Meter, via the App Store. Google had distributed the app using an Enterprise Certificate, an Apple-issued certificate that allows companies to build and distribute apps for internal use within its staff, to the general public.
Facebook Reseach was an app that was developed by Facebook to gather data on usage habits. The social media giant had distributed the app via beta testing services in order to evade the App Store’s rules, which prohibit such behavior.
Just a few days later, Apple suspended all internal-only iOS apps by Google after an investigation by tech publication TechCrunch had found that the search giant was abusing the certificates as well.
The suspension affected a number of Google apps, including food and transportation apps for Google employees, in addition to pre-release versions of popular consumer apps such as Gmail, YouTube, and Calendar.
Google has repented, describing the incident as a ‘mistake’. The issue was fixed and Apple restored the certificates. A Google spokesperson had said that the company was “working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon.”
More to Come
As The Verge notes, it looks like more companies have been abusing Apple’s enterprise program and distributing beta versions of their apps to non-employees. The publication credits an iOS developer by the name of Alex Fajkowski with finding similar behavior by Amazon, DoorDash, and Sonos all.