Apple revokes Google’s enterprise certificate for running user data collection program on iOS

Apple restores Google’s revoked enterprise certificate within hours

Earlier this week, Apple had revoked Facebook’s Enterprise Certificate for violating terms of its developer agreement by having an app on its App Store that extensively collected user’s data. It is now learned that Google too had a similar app that monitored users’ data and traffic usage on iPhones, according to TechCrunch.

Launched in 2012, Google’s data collecting app called Screenwise Meter allows users to earn gift cards, such as a $5 credit on Amazon, “for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data.” It invites users aged 18 and above (or 13 and above in a family group) to participate in Google’s Opinion Rewards program.

Similar to the Facebook Research app that offers up to $20 per month to users to sideload a VPN app on iOS, the VPN app installed by Screenwise Meter also used an Enterprise Certificate. This certificate indicates that an app is only meant for distributing internally to employees, and not to the public.

Following the revelation, Google decided to shut down the Screenwise Meter iOS app. However, before Google could do so, Apple blocked the search giant from running its internal iOS apps.

Apologizing for using its iOS Enterprise Certificate, Google told TechCrunch that “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.”

The revoking of Enterprise Certificates by Apple created problems for both Facebook and Google, as it could no longer run or execute internal apps on iOS devices, as it all depended on the enterprise program, which enables the distribution of internal apps within a company.

However, the Cupertino giant restored Facebook’s Enterprise Certificate on Thursday after revoking it on Wednesday. “We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored,” a company spokesperson said in an email to The Register. “We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.”

Apple late Thursday restored functionality to Google’s apps within five hours of revoking its Enterprise Certificate.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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