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Gambling, porn apps elude Apple police

TAGs: app store, Apple, enterprise certificate

Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program appears to be sour. There have already been issues regarding the program, after it surfaced last week that both Facebook and Google had misused the program to circumvent rules on the App Store to collect user data. Now, it appears that a number of gambling and porn-related apps have taken advantage of the program to be able to include their apps on the store.

Gambling, porn apps elude Apple policeAccording to TechCrunch, an investigation conducted by the media outlet revealed “a dozen hardcore pornography apps and a dozen real-money gambling apps that escaped Apple’s oversight.” They were able to do so by circumventing the weak screening process associated with Enterprise Certificate, or by flying under the radar after being attached to legitimate approvals.

TechCrunch adds, “The situation shows further evidence that Apple has been neglecting its responsibility to police the Enterprise Certificate program, leading to its exploitation to circumvent App Store rules and forbidden categories. For a company whose CEO Tim Cook frequently criticizes its competitors for data misuse and policy fiascos like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica, Apple’s failure to catch and block these porn and gambling demonstrates it has work to do itself.”

Last week, TechCrunch revealed that Facebook and Google had manipulated the platforms rules to distribute apps that sought root access or which installed VPNs. Those apps allowed the companies to collect user traffic and phone data for market analysis. Apple suspended the certificates given to both companies, but has since lifted the suspension.

Apple said when suspending the certificates, “Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.”

However, the company is obviously relying a little too much on the technology and has completely missed an entire range of gambling and porn apps that could be accessible to children.

Conceptually, the Enterprise Certificate program is sound. It reads, in part, “You may not use, distribute or otherwise make Your Internal Use Applications available to Your Customers.”

Anything that sounds good conceptually often starts to show issues when it’s put into action. Just because Apple made developers pinky-swear they would play the rules, doesn’t mean they didn’t have their fingers crossed behind their backs.

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