The conflict between Facebook and Apple over user privacy and data security now takes another turn. After jamming Facebook’s user tracking scripts, Apple now takes another move towards the protection of its users’ data. Reportedly, Apple removed Onavo Protect – Facebook’s security app and VPN – from the app store as it violates Apple’s policies.
Apple Removes Onavo Protect From App Store
Apple has removed Onavo Protect, the Israel-based security app owned by none other than Facebook, from their App Store owing to its apparent violation of Apple policies.
Reportedly, Onavo Protect proactively collects users’ data and sends it to Facebook HQ – something against the App Store Guidelines. Therefore, Apple has asked Facebook to remove the security app from the Apple App Store.
Facebook Earlier Confirmed It Uses Onavo Data For Analytics Only
Onavo Protect is a free security app that offers VPN functionality to the users. Facebook acquired this app back in 2013. After the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced online, people raised concerns about how Facebook used the data collected via Onavo. Earlier this year, a researcher already disclosed how the app collected users’ data even in offline mode. Later on, in June, when Facebook faced tough questions from the Congress over data collection and security, Facebook stated regarding Onavo,
“We have always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used. As a developer on Apple’s platform, we follow the rules they have put in place.”
Precisely, they stated that Facebook used the data collected by Onavo merely for analytics so as to improve its own products. The description of Onavo Protect app also states the same,
“As part of providing these features, Onavo may collect your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.”
Yet, Apple deems it conflicting with its policies. Thus, it has asked Facebook to voluntarily remove the app from the App Store.
Apple users who already have Onavo downloaded on their devices can continue to use the app. However, they won’t be able to receive any updates going forwards. Android users can however use the app freely as it still remains available on Google Play Store.
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