It seems that Facebook was not the only one who misused the Apple system to distribute apps for employees only, to relinquish the App store and collect detailed user data.
Google works on an application called Screenwise Meter, which has a strong resemblance to the application distributed by Facebook Research, which is now banned from Apple, taught by TechCrunch.
In its application, Google invites users aged 18 and over (or 13 if they are part of a family group) to download the application through a separate code and a registration process using an Enterprise Certificate. It's the same kind of policy violation that made Apple close the similar Research VPN iOS application on Facebook, which had a blow to the effect, also prevented the use of legitimate Facebook apps just for employees – working on the same Facebook certificate for Enterprises – and making Facebook look a lot in this process.
After we asked Google whether its application violated Apple's policy, Google announced that it will remove Screenwise Meter from the Apple Enterprise Enterprise Certificate program and will disable it on iOS devices.
The company said in a statement on TechCrunch:
"The Appwise Meter iOS application was not supposed to function under the Apple programmer program – this was a mistake and we apologize. We have excluded this application on iOS devices, this application is completely voluntary and it is always there.We were in advance with the users about the way we use their data in this application, we do not have access to encrypted data in applications and devices, and users can drop the program at any time. "
The screen (not) wise
First launched in 2012, Screenwise allows users to earn gift cards for the sideloading VPN-based Enterprise Certificate application, which allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data. Google re-branded the program as part of the Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that reward users for installing tracking systems on their mobile phone, computer web browser, router and TV. In fact, Google actually sends participants a special router that can monitor it.
Initially, Screenwise was open to users at the age of 13, just like the research application on Facebook which is now closed on iOS, but remains on Android. Now, under the rules for assigning panelists to the website, Google requires primary users of its posts to be older than 18, but still allows participants at the middle level of 13 years in the same household to join the program and follow their devices, as shown in this video below (which was created in August last year, underlining that the program is still active).
Unlike Facebook, Google is much more resistant to how research data collection programs function and collects and is directly involved. It also gives users the option of "guest mode" for when they do not want to track traffic, or someone less than 13 uses the device.
Overcoming insignificant privacy issues aside – in short, many people attracted by financial rewards can not fully take on what it means to have a company fully track all your screen-based activities – and the implications for which tech businesses are ready for go to gather more data for users to take advantage of competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS seems to violate Apple's policy.
This essentially declares that the Enterprise Application Development Program for applications without App Store or Apple's surveillance is only for internal employee applications.
Google monitors users through how to install the enterprise certificate and VPN on their phone. Developers who want to make an external test of iOS should use the TestFlight system that sees applications and limits their distribution to 10,000 people.
We still do not hear it back from Apple, but Google quickly switches to iOS Screenwise Meter can save it from further punishment. We will see if Apple still invalidates the certificates for all legitimate employee applications for Google only, working on the same certificate as it did on Facebook. It would throw the key in Google product development and everyday workflow that could be more damaging than just removing one way of competing competing intelligence.
But instead of taking seven hours to react as a reflex grown up like Facebook, Google managed to sort items under just under three.
We updated this post as a response to Google's statement that it will close the iOS version of Screenwise Meter.