They did it, Apple has finally showed some teeth!
Facebook, developer of some of the most installed apps on all iOS devices, have had their iOS enterprise distribution certificates revoked after blatantly breaching their enterprise agreement with Apple.
Apple who’ve long campaigned as the champion of user privacy have taken action in the wake of the latest Facebook privacy scandal. Details emerged yesterday that that Facebook were installing a “research” app codenamed “Atlas” onto paid participants phones. Running since 2016 the app has the ability to collect data from any instant message app, media sent to anyone, ongoing location information and more.
Despite Facebook releasing a statement saying they would close the program after it went public yesterday Apple have taken steps to ensure they stay true to their word by revoking their method of distribution. The side effect of doing so is that all of the apps that made use of the same certificates and did not breach the agreement by being loaded onto internal staff’s devices only no longer launch.
Internally Facebook distribute apps for users to arrange travel as well, of course, early builds of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Whilst revoking the certificates doesn’t deny Facebook the ability to load apps via other methods it does make it exponentially harder for them to do it at scale.
Apple’s actions will certainly disrupt Facebook today but are far from the company’s apps being removed completely, which I fear other developers (had they done similar) would likely suffer.
A slap on the wrist it may be, it’s nice to Apple back themselves when it comes to privacy.