Apple really doesn’t like anyone else remind people that there can be privacy and security problems on the iTunes App Store. It has removed BitDefender’s Clueful app — which highlights potential security and privacy violations in other apps — from the store.
Clueful was rolled out as a $4.49 app back in May. It analysed details including how apps stored data, whether they accessed your contacts, and whether they tracked your location. Android users get warned of these issues before installation, but iOS doesn’t offer that option right now.
Of 60,000 apps Clueful analysed, 42.5 per cent didn’t encrypt data when transmitting it. Bitdefender has said it will redevelop the app and resubmit it to Apple. Apple’s reasoning around why apps are removed is rarely made public and often seems capricious when it emerges. Much of iOS’ reputation for security rests on Apple’s vetting of apps, but as we’ve noted before, that’s not a perfect process, and cutting off scrutiny of the app ecosystem doesn’t actually improve confidence in it.