Apple removes multiple parental control apps due to privacy violations

Apple removes multiple parental control apps due to privacy violations


  • What are parental control apps?
  • What is MDM?
  • Apps in discrepancy

In recent months, Apple has removed 11 of the 17 most downloaded parental control apps from the App Store. In a statement , the company said they did this because the apps were violating the rules, especially in the area of ​​privacy.

Some apps chose to adjust some functionality in their app so that they still met Apple’s requirements. But others refused to make adjustments and can no longer be found in the App Store. For this reason, Apple removed the OurPact app in February. This parental control app has no less than 3 million users and is therefore the most installed app within the parental control apps.

The apps that have been removed from the App Store can still be downloaded via, for example, the Play Store.

What are parental control apps?
Parental control apps give parents a way to monitor their children’s mobile use. These apps, for example, provide insight into how long a child has been on his or her cell phone and which apps are used for what duration. Furthermore, many of these apps have applications that allow parents to set a usage limit for their child and even exclude certain websites or apps because they would not be suitable for children. More and more parents use such apps to track the mobile use of their children.

Apple now says that many of these apps compromise user privacy. This is mainly due to a technology called Mobile Device Management (MDM).

What is MDM?

MDM is therefore a technology that is often used in parental control apps. According to Apple, the method gives third parties too much access and control to sensitive information. For example, location, app use, email accounts, camera, and browsing history could be viewed by third parties. This is understandably a serious privacy violation. In addition to the fact that the app has a lot of sensitive information in this way, the technology is also a frequently used entry point for hackers. The latter therefore ensures that apps that use MDM run a greater risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime .

There are legitimate applications for MDM technology, for example within companies. But Apple says it doesn’t think this technology should be used in consumer apps. For this reason, Apple has recently removed several apps from the App Store. The company did, however, first give the apps the opportunity to make adjustments that would make them comply with the rules again. Some apps chose the last option and can be found in the App Store after an update.

Apps in discrepancy

Two companies, Kidslox and Qustodio, both parental control apps, have filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. They think Apple is abusing its position in the market. Kidslox was one of the apps that made adjustments to be able to remain in the App Store. The adjustments did ensure that the income of the company decreased considerably.

Kaspersky also filed a complaint against Apple earlier. Kaspersky was forced to adjust his Safe Kids app under pressure from Apple.

Apple is now being accused by some of abusing their monopoly position and removing competition in the parental control market.

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