Apple’s App Store privacy crackdown may hurt Facebook’s Onavo app

“Apple Inc.’s new rules for app developers limit their ability to harvest user contact data, but they also could hurt a key app owned by Facebook Inc. called Onavo Protect,” Mark Gurman and Sarah Frier report for Bloomberg.

“The iPhone maker’s updated App Store Review Guidelines ban applications that ‘collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing,'” Gurman and Sarah Frier report. “This could give Apple grounds to remove the Onavo app, although the software is still available despite the rules kicking in last week.”

“Onavo Protect, when installed on an iPhone or Android device, uses a virtual private network to scan incoming and outgoing internet connectivity,” Gurman and Sarah Frier report. “It also gathers information about users’ devices, their location, apps installed on the gadgets and how people use those apps, what websites they visit, and the amount of data used.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The potential for less snooping for Facebook sounds like a good thing to us!


  1. Onavo Protect was purchased by Facebook in 2013, for the express purpose of…you guessed it: mining your data.

    See, Facebook can track a lot of what you do on the web, but it can’t track what you do in other apps on your phone. When you turn Onavo Protect on, however, you are routing all of your internet traffic through Facebook’s servers, where the information is decrypted for them to see. The Wall Street Journal published an article about this last year, but you don’t even need to dig that much to find this out—Onavo Protect tells you about it when you first open the app

  2. The Register ran a story about Facebook’s Onavo app about three months ago and it was hard to work out why any sane person would install a VPN which was known to be sneakily reporting back to Facebook about your data usage, VPN usage and whether your mobile was on or off.

    What legitimate reason would FB have for collecting that sort of data other than FB’s obsession with collecting every scrap of personal data that it possibly can?

      1. It’s hard to say, but it’s certainly compatible with that idea.

        It seems incredible that anybody is happy to install software which is snooping on you, but if you call it FaceBook, it immediately becomes acceptable to millions of people.

  3. Wow, I didn’t know this now belongs now to FB and the stuff it now collects 🙁. I installed this on my partners iPhone before the FB acquisition as she only has a low data allowance. I’ll be removing this crap today.

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