Saturday 25 May 2019

Apple cracks down on parental control apps, saying they're too powerful

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Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple is cracking down on apps that let parents control their kids’ phones.

The tech giant has taken steps to restrict apps such as Ourpact that do things like allow parents to block adult content on social media apps.

It says it is clamping down because the technology being used by the apps is too invasive and could lead to security or privacy breaches.

But companies making the child protection apps say that Apple is doing it to promote its own ‘Screen Time’ app, recently introduced to give users more control over limiting access to content.

Two of the app makers, Kidslox and Qustodio, have made a complaint to EU competition authorities on the matter. However, it is not clear whether those complaints will be investigated.

“Over the last year we became aware that some parental management apps were using a technology called Mobile Device Management or MDM and installing an MDM profile as a method to limit and control use of these devices,” said Apple’s global marketing chief.

“MDM is a technology that gives one party access to and control over many devices, it was meant to be used by a company on its own mobile devices as a management tool, where that company has a right to all of the data and use of the devices. ”

Schiller said that MDM technology is not intended to enable a developer to have access to and control over consumers’ data and devices.

“But the apps we removed from the store did just that,” he said. “No one, except you, should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device, know their location, track their app use, control their mail accounts, web surfing, camera use, network access, and even remotely erase their devices.”

He also said that MDM profiles can be used as a technology for hacker attacks “by assisting them in installing apps for malicious purposes on users’ devices”.

Online Editors

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