Google Pulls A Facebook By Using Enterprise Certificates To Bypass App Store

Clearly the use of Apple’s enterprise certificates to bypass the App Store so that one can load any piece of software they want onto their iDevice is a bigger problem than Facebook. I say that because Google has been caught doing a version of what Facebook was caught doing. According to TechCrunch, Google has been distributing an app called “Screenwise Meter” using the enterprise certificate installation method since 2012. Google has apparently been privately inviting users aged 18 and up (or 13 for those part of a family group) to download Screenwise Meter, an app that is designed to collect information on internet usage, including details on how long a site is visited to apps that are downloaded. The Screenwise Meter app that Google uses lets users earn gift cards for sharing their traffic and app data. It is part of Google’s Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that provide rewards to people for installing tracking software on their smartphones, web browsers, routers, and TVs. Or put another way, they were paying people without actually handing out cash the way Facebook was.

So much for Google’s motto of “do no evil.” But to be fair, the ship has sailed on that motto years ago.

And there’s this little detail about the app:

Putting the not-insignificant issues of privacy aside — in short, many people lured by financial rewards may not fully take in what it means to have a company fully monitoring all your screen-based activity — and the implications of what extent tech businesses are willing to go to to amass more data about users to get an edge on competitors, Google Screenwise Meter for iOS appears to violate Apple’s policy.

And to nobody’s surprise, once this became public, this happened:

So now that’s two companies who have been playing fast and loose with Apple’s enterprise certificates. One has to think that more companies are doing exactly the same thing. The question is how many are doing the same thing and how bad is this going to get?

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2 Responses to “Google Pulls A Facebook By Using Enterprise Certificates To Bypass App Store”

  1. […] ago it came to light that Facebook was not the only one abusing Apple enterprise certificates, but Google was doing that as well and for a much longer amount of time. In the case of the former, Apple […]

  2. […] the company’s access to enterprise certificates. The ones that got them into so much trouble when they were caught using them to sideload applications outside the app store. This was confirmed by Tech Crunch and by this […]

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