Update: Google provided the following statement to TechCrunch stating it has disabled the Screenwise app on iOS:
The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.
Original story follows:
Apple blocked all of Facebook’s internal iOS apps after it was found that the social network was distributing a VPN app that collected an overt amount of customer data. Now it looks like Google has also been undertaking a similar practice.
An investigation by TechCrunch found that Google was using its Enterprise Certificate to let users install an app called Screenwise Meter, which monitors usage data in exchange for free gift cards.
Google invited users 18 and above — or 13 and above for families — to participate in the program, and while the search giant was upfront about collecting user data in exchange for financial reward, it likely ran afoul of App Store guidelines. Apple states that the Enterprise Certificate program may only be used for distributing employee-only internal apps, which wasn’t the case here.
As such, Apple could remove Screenwise from iOS, or as TechCrunch notes, even invalidate Google’s Enterprise Certificate like it did for Facebook. For now, we’ll have to wait and see what action Apple takes.
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