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Facebook pulls its mobile VPN app from Apple’s App Store over privacy concerns

The app violated Apple's data-collection policies.

  • Published: September 3, 2018 1:17 PM IST

Facebook has pulled – Onavo Protect – its VPN app from Apple’s App Store, after Apple recently informed the social networking company that the app violated its data-collection policies, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The Israel-based Onavo, which originally began as a platform to help users monitor their data usage, was acquired by Facebook in 2013. As per a report by The Verge, the app’s VPN functionality was used by Facebook to monitor smartphone users’ activities to gain insights about their usage of competing social apps.

Back in June, Apple enforced new privacy rules that limit app developers’ ability to collect user data and sell it to third parties.

“We’ve always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used. As a developer on Apple’s platform, we follow the rules they’ve put in place,” said a Facebook spokesperson, in a statement to The Verge.

‘Onavo Protect’ allegedly also violated another part of the iOS developer agreement, which regulates how app developers can use collected data for tasks that lie outside the core spectrum of the apps’ intended function(s). Despite being a VPN service, Facebook used Onavo for analysing routed traffic.

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Facebook has drawn a lot of criticism over the past few months over its questionable data-collection practices, especially after the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social networking company recently rolled out ‘Watch’, its on-demand video sharing service to users across the world. The service had already been available to users in the United States for around a year.

  • Published Date: September 3, 2018 1:17 PM IST