Apple Chucks BitDefender Privacy App Out Of App Store

Apple has removed an app designed to help people gain insight into how far their iOS applications are infringing on their privacy.

Clueful, created by Romanian security company BitDefender, ranks applications by looking at how much data they access on a user’s iPhone. It will look at certain security qualities too, such as what applications send data over Wi-Fi unencrypted.

“Clueful is the only way to really understand iOS apps, how they use your private data and treat your privacy. This one-of-a-kind product identifies intrusive applications and shows you what they do behind your back,” the marketing bumf on the app’s website reads.

Working with Apple

Catalin Cosoi, head of BitDefender’s Online Threats Lab, said the app had received around 2000 downloads since it was added to Apple’s App Store in May. But Apple decided to remove the app, for reasons as yet unknown.

“Now we are working closely with Apple to adjust the application in order to get it back on the App Store,” Cosoi said. “I’d love to tell you the reason behind [Apple’s decision], but Apple’s NDA [non-disclosure agreement] doesn’t allow us.

“We don’t want to go to war with Apple. We want to work with them, that’s the whole point with this.”

At the time of publication, Apple had not responded to a request for comment on the situation.

Removing an app like Clueful might not do Apple’s reputation any good in terms of privacy. Back in March Apple was one of a number of iOS app makers sent a letter from two members of US Congress, in a probe into application privacy.

That same month, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was asked to send a representative to Washington DC for a grilling on privacy in the iOS operating system.

However, Apple has benefitted from privacy features it runs in its technology. This month, Google was said to be close to settling for $22.5 million over claims it was sneakily bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser, so it could track users’ activity with cookies.