Apple has faced criticism for removing numerous parental control apps from its App Store. However, Apple have defended its decision, claiming the apps breached the rules on privacy and security.
Developers of the apps have accused Apple of anti-competitive practices, saying the company considered them a threat to its business model. The New York Times reported that Apple had restricted 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental control apps over the past year.
The company revealed new features back in June, which helped users control how often they were using their phones. According to The New York Times, these features came in response to demands that were being met by Apple’s competitors.
Two of the app developers, Qustodio and Kidslox, have filed a complaint against the company with the European Union’s competition office.
Another developer with a grievance against Apple is Russian cyber security business Kaspersky Lab, which plans to bring an anti-trust lawsuit in the US. The lawsuit accuses the company of forcing it to remove crucial features from its own parental control apps.
Apple made a statement defending and explaining its decision to remove these apps. The company said they were designed with a technology that “put users privacy and security at risk”.
Apple stated: “Over the last year, we became aware that several of these parental control apps were using a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM.”
“MDM gives a third party control and access over a device and its most sensitive information including user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history.”
Apple also added that MDM technology could enable hackers to sidestep the iOS security features. The company has strong supervision over the apps on the App Store, in order to make sure they don’t interfere with its iOS operating system.
“When we found out about these guideline violations, we communicated these violations to the app developers, giving them 30 days to submit an updated app to avoid availability interruption in the App Store.
“Several developers released updates to bring their apps in line with these policies. Those that didn’t were removed from the App Store,” Apple said.
The company also denied claims that the removal of these apps were made in an attempt to shut out competitors.
“Apple has always supported third-party apps on the App Store that help parents manage their kids’ devices,” it said.
“Contrary to what The New York Times reported over the weekend, this isn’t a matter of competition. It’s a matter of security.”
Despite the criticism, Apple have justified their actions on removing certain apps. It isn’t anything personal, just purely for the sake of security and privacy.
Private data and your security have come under scrutiny through third party apps and their developers, in the wake of new data leaks and subsequent privacy laws in recent times, with big tech and big social media companies baring the brunt of the criticism, hence why they are now making the necessary changes to comply with new regulations on data and privacy.
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: BBC