Chinese mobile-ad company apologizes for snooping on Apple iOS users

“A Chinese mobile-advertising company has apologized for disseminating code that allowed hundreds of applications that run on Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile operating system to access users’ personal data, in violation of Apple’s App Store policy,” Josh Chin reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Closely held Guangzhou Youmi Mobile Technology Co. offered its ‘sincere apologies’ to affected developers in a statement Tuesday, after Apple said it had removed offerings from the App Store that were found to be collecting and extracting email addresses, device identification and other private information,” Chin reports. “Youmi said it was working with Apple to resolve the issue.”

“In a longer statement later Tuesday, Youmi said it respected privacy rules and had never collected users’ personally identifiable information,” Chin reports. “The aim of the software in question was to protect advertisers and developers against fraud, the company said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re sorry we got caught using a private API even though every iOS developer knows the use of private APIs in iOS apps is not allowed by Apple.

Apple removing hundreds of App Store apps over advertising SDK that collects user data – October 19, 2015


    1. sorry
      arousing or deserving of one’s loathing and disgust

      Synonyms cheap, cruddy, deplorable, despicable, dirty, grubby, lame, lousy, mean, nasty, paltry, pitiable, pitiful, ratty, scabby, scummy, scurvy, sneaking, contemptible, wretched

      Related Words abhorrent, abominable, condemnable, detestable, execrable, hateful, loathsome, odious; disgusting, reptilian, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, revulsive; discreditable, disgraceful, dishonorable, disreputable, ignominious, shameful; base, ignoble, low, shabby, sordid, squalid, vile; blamable, censurable, reprehensible, reproachable; cowardly, craven, dastardly; unethical, unprincipled, unscrupulous

      Select all that apply. 🖖😀⌚️

    2. Agree. Apple needs to treat this type of blatant disregard for the privacy designation of Apple’s APIs and of software users, and spits in the face of Apple’s brand objectives of being the unsurpassed purveyor of user privacy and security. Not to mention the many developers damaged by having their apps removed from Store. Youmi does NOT “respect privacy rules” as they claim, and they should be made an example of.

  1. “Youmi said it was working with Apple to resolve the issue.”

    Yea, I bet Apple is working closely with Youmi. 😐
    They are trying to give the impression that they are not banned for life, which is probably closer to what is really happening.

  2. So what constitutes a “private API” to Apple? Webservices can be considered as such as well as any library of functions commonly used across applications from a single company unique to that company.

  3. Mandarin has so many words for sorry.

    They are only saying sorry for getting caught. The behavior will continue which will show that they aren’t actually sorry.

    Businesses from China are not to be trusted.

    1. So ban6dit, tell us about your vast personal or professional experience doing business with the Chinese.

      I ask because my company – by which I mean a company where I control more than 50% of the stock – does a lot of business in China. I have been to China more times than I can remember – heck, three times in the last four months. I’ve stood on factory floors and in board rooms. My contact app has a lot of mobile numbers that begin with the prefix +86 (you probably have no idea what that means) and I have an iPhone 4s with a Chinese SIM card in it.

      This is all to say that I find the Chinese no more or less ethical, at the individual business level, than most American companies. I’d say some Chinese firms lack business maturity and sophistication, but most of the people I deal with put a lot trust into personal relationships. I have been pleased by how much we’ve done with handshakes and short agreements.

      So, unless you actually know something about this topic, why don’t you keep your xenophobia to yourself and STFU.

      1. Well said. I also have a lot of contact with China and find that the people I meet are extremely polite and friendly. When I go to China, I always feel totally safe and am always made to feel amazingly welcome, even by people in the street.

        The Chinese have a tremendous sense of honour and if an individual promises something to me, I feel totally confident that it will happen, while if a European or American agrees something with me, I would want to get it confirmed in writing and think about safeguards and guarantees.

        When I did complain to a supplier for not delivering the quality that was expected for one range amongst an order covering ten ranges, they immediately sent the entire order again at their own expense and profusely apologised.

        As for ban6dit’s comments about the Chinese are not to be trusted and only being sorry for being caught, try thinking about Google getting caught snooping on people’s WiFi and their subsequent apology. Google didn’t change it’s ways in the slightest and was then seen to be deviously circumventing ‘Do not track’ requests and are still invading privacy wherever they can. We Europeans are no better either, just look at VW and the recent scandal about cheat software to make their diesel engines appear to pass emission regulations when in reality they were 40 times worse than when tested.

        Many American and European companies have been caught acting dishonestly. Are you also saying that businesses from the west can’t be trusted?

          1. But, somehow you don’t extrapolate from Google to “all western world” companies. Interesting.

            Frankly, I’d say no corporation should be trusted. Their motives don’t match yours. But, you singled out the Chinese, which is a problem.

            1. In general I agree with you about corporations should not be trusted. However I tend to trust Chinese corporations less that those from many other countries.

              I never all said “all the Eastern world” I specifically targeted China since this article is about China.
              Why is singling out one country a problem? This article is about China. I’m not basing my statement on this one article and this one company. This article however is just another example in a long line of examples of what appears to be Chinese corporate pattern of behavior.

      2. Ask US expat living in Korea I can tell you I am not xenophobic at all. I I do have various personal and professional experiences with Chinese companies.

        +86 is the country code for China when dialing phones. I have a few of those in my phone as well. Most of the contacts in my phone have a +82 prefix. My mobile phone has had sim cards from various Asian countries in it. whats your point?

        Chinese is famous for knock offs for a reason. It not an accident.
        Ask your Chinese partners about “Technology transfer centers”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.