Big surprise: Google is also abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate system to collect extensive data on users

“It looks like Facebook is not the only one abusing Apple’s system for distributing employee-only apps to sidestep the App Store and collect extensive data on users,” Zack Whittaker, Josh Constine, and Ingrid Lunden report for TechCrunch. “Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch has learned.”

“In its app, Google invites users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate,” Whittaker, Constine, and Lunden report. “That’s the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook’s similar Research VPN iOS app, which had the knock-on effect of also disabling usage of Facebook’s legitimate employee-only apps — which run on the same Facebook Enterprise Certificate — and making Facebook look very iffy in the process.”

“Putting the not-insignificant issues of privacy aside — in short, many people lured by financial rewards may not fully take in what it means to have a company fully monitoring all your screen-based activity — and the implications of what extent tech businesses are willing to go to to amass more data about users to get an edge on competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS appears to violate Apple’s policy,” Whittaker, Constine, and Lunden report. “We have reached out both to Apple and Google for a comment on why this app is either the same, or different to the app Facebook had been distributing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally, the chickens are coming home to roost for the privacy-trampling Google and Facebook. Better late than never, we always say!

Apple blocks Facebook from running all of their internal iOS apps by revoking distribution certificate – January 30, 2019
Apple bans Facebook’s ‘research’ app that paid teens to install VPN that spies on them – January 30, 2019
Hidden documents reveal how Facebook made money by bamboozling children – January 18, 2019
Roger McNamee: I mentored Mark Zuckerberg. I loved Facebook. But I can’t stay silent about what’s happening. – January 17, 2019
Apple CEO Cook calls for U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation in TIME op-ed – January 17, 2019
Senator Marco Rubio introduces privacy bill to create federal regulations on data collection – January 16, 2019
Apple endorses comprehensive privacy legislation in U.S. Senate testimony – September 26, 2018
Trump administration working on federal data privacy policy – July 27, 2018


  1. One of the reasons both Facebook and Alphabet are valued much higher than Apple. The big Wall Street investors like how these companies operate. Both of these companies are turning user data into gold and consumers are happy to give all their personal data to these companies in exchange for free social services. Wall Street considers Apple a loser for not harvesting data like Facebook and Alphabet and possibly even Amazon. They think Apple is just throwing away an opportunity to make more money. I’m not sure why Tim Cook thinks he’s protecting users when most consumers don’t even worry about privacy and security.

    Facebook and Alphabet are going to go wild in India with hundreds of millions of Indian consumers who don’t have a clue about any violation of privacy. Apple needn’t worry about India because practically no one in India will have an iPhone. Give a consumer free services and they’ll be happy, no matter what.

    1. All the more reason not to listen to people like you who are clearly enamored with Google and Facebook’s raping of privacy, and all the more reason to urge any Indian friends to get with the privacy program and to buy and use iPhones only.

      Costs a bit more, but your privacy is protected. That’s a real magnificent lucky seven, not the blah blah blah mag748 is blah-ing on about.

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