Google abused an Apple backdoor to collect user data
by Milen Yanachkov / Jan 31, 2019, 4:28 AM
In the wake of the Facebook VPN scandal, it was recently revealed that Google has also been abusing the same Apple backdoor to collect data from users as young as thirteen. Similar to the Facebook Research app, Google's Screenwise Meter has been using Apple's Enterprise Certificate, which is meant for distributing employee-only apps, to circumvent the App Store and tap into a wealthy reserve of user data.
TechCrunch points out, it was later rebranded as part of the broader Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs.Upon downloading the app, users complete a survey and are then sent a special code that allows them to download the Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that is then used to track all of their app and Internet use. In order to entice people to go through with it, Screenwise lets users earn gift cards in return for their data. The app was first launched in 2012, though, as
Similarly to Facebook's now-defunct Research app, Screenwise Meter was also initially available to people as young as thirteen, though Google later changed the age requirement to eighteen or older. However, minors could still partake in the program in the same household as other testers that met the age requirement.
Screenshots from Google's Screenwise Meter app
If nothing else, Google has at least been a bit more transparent than Facebook when it came to explaining what it does with its VPN tracker. Following TechCrunch's investigation, Google has announced that it will be shutting down the Screenwise Meter app for iOS:
"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."
Following the Facebook VPN fiasco, Apple swiftly invalidated all certifications for Facebook employee-only apps. It is yet unclear if the same punishment will be issued to Google. If it is, this will be highly damaging to Google's workflow, not to mention the detrimental effects it will have on the public's opinion on the company (which Google won't be able to track via an app).
Posts: 1520; Member since: Mar 16, 2017
LMAO, everyones smashing Apples backdoors lately :) (pun intended). Facebook, Google, Project Raven all having fun shafting Apples rear entrance lol.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 4:37 AM 8
Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018
These apps have been on Apple's app store for quite some time. It's because Apple has too look good in the public's eye. So they will push anyone under the bus to come out smelling like the proverbial rose.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 8:18 AM 0
Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018
This Screenwise Meter iOS app was on Apple's app store for years, since 2012. It's only when Apple starts to look bad in the public's eye for doing shady things themselves, like eve's dropping on people via Apple's own FaceTime. Then Apple looks to pump themselves up by putting others under the bus. The same holds true with that privacy crap. Especially that ad that Apple placed in Las Vegas during CES. "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.". Talk about a joke. Leo_MC ask yourself this, especially if you have a HomePod. When you ask Siri using the HomePod to read your messages. Where do those messages exist? They are on the iPhone. Now how did they get to the HomePod? They were sent to the HomePod over the internet. Yeah, what happens on iPhone, stays on iPhone. Clearly Apple meant if you don't know, then it stays on the iPhone for the ignorant, and gullible sheeple.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 4:08 PM 0
Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011
This article is talking about the versions used for development, distributed outside the store, which do not comply with Apple guidelines. “My iPhone” is the same as “my iCloud”, or “my Mac”, or “my watch”; it means only I - the owner of the data - have access to it.
posted on Feb 01, 2019, 1:37 AM 0
Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014
f**kers violating privacy like it’s nothing. Sue their asses and punish them severely.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 4:43 AM 2
Posts: 442; Member since: Apr 02, 2018
You got a problem kid this is the internet in 21st century even PA got your e-mail account username to their comment section server account list.Keep your temper down kid.You are no one to question the internet utility and it's usefullness.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 5:34 AM 7
Posts: 186; Member since: Apr 14, 2017
One thing:where are the safety of IOS? Everyone enter...
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 5:50 AM 1
Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018
Safety is to never use these stupid mining apps. I don’t use google and FB.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 6:27 AM 1
Posts: 1507; Member since: Feb 19, 2017
I wonder where are those people that were really upset when Google was fined for GDPR violation. Apple, Google, Facebook they all need to be fined big time to finally start respecting the law and their customers (no exceptions).
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 7:15 AM 1
Posts: 6790; Member since: Jul 11, 2012
People need to be smarter with what they agree to...these were opt in. Microsoft has an updated Android launcher that lets you earn rewards by using it. Thinking this will be something similar in nature, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming article about it.
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 7:22 AM 1
Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011
At this point, so much data has been collected that privacy doesn't even matter anymore. Apple and everyone else know about your fried chicken addiction, your fear of llamas and your fondness of candied green beans. Who cares ?
posted on Jan 31, 2019, 12:01 PM 0
Send a warning to post author
Send a warning to Selected user.
The user has 0 warnings currently.
Next warning will result in ban!
Ban user and delete all posts
Message to PhoneArena moderator (optional):