Apple Removes 256 iOS Apps from App Store for Privacy Violations

Tuesday Oct 20th 2015 by Developer.com Staff
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The apps, most of which were made by Chinese developers, used a third-party advertising SDK.

Apple has removed 256 apps from its App Store because they violated its privacy policies. Experts say it's likely that the mobile development firms that created the apps were unaware that their apps were collecting personal data and sending it to an advertising vendor.

Apple released a statement, which said, "We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third-party advertising SDK, developed by Youmi, a mobile advertising provider, that uses private APIs to gather private information, such as user email addresses and device identifiers, and route data to its company server. This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines. The apps using Youmi's SDK will be removed from the App Store and any new apps submitted to the App Store using this SDK will be rejected."

The problem was first identified by a security analytics firm called SourceDNA. "This is the first time we've found apps live in the App Store that are violating user privacy by pulling data from private APIs," said Nate Lawson, SourceDNA founder. "This is actually an obfuscated toolkit for extracting as much private information as it can. It's definitely the kind of stuff that Apple should have caught."

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