Yesterday, Facebook was involved again for spying on users by paying 20$ in exchange for their complete private data for the company’s so-called market-research data tracking app. The app had full access of the volunteers’ (who have enrolled to participate in this program, who were between 13-25 years of age) data, which includes – messages, social media private chats, emails, browsing activity, e-commerce shopping activity. This was considered to be a violation of Apple’s privacy policies, and henceforth Apple had decided to block Facebook to run its internal iOS apps.
However, it appears it isn’t only Facebook; Google also has a similar approach to the distribution of its private app called Screenwise Meter, which also happens to be functioning similarly to Facebook Research app. Google also has been offering rewards for the users such as gift cards for allowing to collect the information their internet activity, The Verge reported.
The report further states, Google’s app has also relied on Apple’s Enterprise program similar to Facebook’s app. This program allowed the distribution of internal apps within a firm. According to Apple, such type of apps is meant to be experimented by company employees and not the actual consumers, even though they have volunteered for sharing.
The report further reveals that this program from Google has been active since 2012 and users need to be around 18 years to enroll in this program. Facebook’s research has also been in Apple’s Enterprise program since 2016 under the name of Project Atlas. Despite the consumers’ consent of sharing their whole internet activity and location through the mobile phone, it can still be considered an immense collection of private data from consumers. Considering the purpose of this collection of user data whether it might be for market research or to give some local interests based on your location where you have been, it is still risky to give away the information for some 20$ or a gift card.
Henceforth, Google has shut down the Screenwise Meter app for iOS and also has accepted the mistake and apologized, according to The Verge. Although both the tech companies have violated Apple’s policy norms and have disabled this collection of data by disabling the iOS apps, the Cupertino tech giant is yet to respond. Apple has also been involved in their recent iPhone’s Group FaceTime bug that allowed users to eavesdrop on their fellow contacts or any FaceTime user for that matter.