Just when the media was criticising Facebook for spying on teenagers through an app, Apple dropped a bomb on Google by measuring the search engine giant with the same yardstick that it used with the social media platform - in simpler words - revoking Google’s Enterprise Certificate that allowed it to distribute its own private app and allegedly monitored iPhone usage. The move can be seen as Apple’s reaffirmation of itself as an advocate of users’ privacy, and a powerful tech entity that does not kneel down to the (implied) data-hungry competitors.
Though Apple has let Facebook use internal iOS apps and restored functionality to Google’s apps, it should be clear that the Cupertino-based giant is clearly sticking to its rules and applying them equally to any company that may get caught breaking its rules in the future. Just like Facebook, Google’s Screenwise Meter came under the lens for tracking users and rewarding them with gift cards for letting Google collect information on their internet usage. Google has released a statement clarifying its stance.
“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time,” Google spokesperson told The Verge.
A person familiar with the situation told The Verge that the “early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps stopped working alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app.” Reportedly, Amazon, DoorDash, and Sonos all distribute beta versions of their apps to non-employees and could face the same action as the Google and Facebook.