Apr 29, 2019

Apple’s Privacy Statement Over Parental Control Apps

Photo via Apple 
Apple recently published a statement over parental control apps made by third parties. These apps allow parents to manage how much their children spend on their iOS devices, which is why they developed Screen Time in iOS 12. They stated that these apps, such as Balance Screen Time by Moment Health and Verizon Smart Family were pulled from the App Store due to not complying with Apple’s security policies. These apps can put an iOS user’s privacy and security at risk.

First of all, Apple explains the main purpose of the privacy concerns in these apps. The statement says that,
Over the last year, we became aware that several of these parental control apps were using a highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM. MDM gives a third party control and access over a device and its most sensitive information including user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions, and browsing history. We started exploring this use of MDM by non-enterprise developers back in early 2017 and updated our guidelines based on that work in mid-2017.
This is significant because it is not safe to use the Mobile Device Management feature for anything other than commercial/business use. We all know that this feature can spy on every user’s iOS device, which is a violation of Apple’s security guidelines if used illegally. That’s why Apple updated these policies in mid-2017.

Next, the statement continues to suggest that,
Beyond the control that the app itself can exert over the user's device, research has shown that MDM profiles could be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes.
This is true, as this feature can attract more hackers to exploit your iOS devices. We all know that this feature can get all of the information about your iPhone, or iPad. Hackers can also get the passcodes of your iOS device with MDM.

In conclusion, the MDM features of these third-party, parental control apps violate Apple’s privacy rights, causing them to take these apps off of the App Store. They’re the breeding grounds for hackers and exploiters to take advantage of your iOS device. On the other hand, you can learn more about this topic in Apple Newsroom.

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