Apple: We Banned Parental Control Apps for Security Reasons

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Apple has claimed the reason for its controversial decision to pull rival parental control apps from its App Store was taken due to privacy and security concerns.

The tech giant had been accused of abusing its role as the gatekeeper of the iOS app marketplace by excluding third-party titles which help parents monitor and set limits on what their children can access online on their devices.

Last month, Russian AV vendor Kaspersky Lab announced it had filed an antitrust claim against the Cupertino giant in its home country, claiming that Apple’s decision to remove its app coincided with the US firm’s release of its own Screen Time app.

“By setting its own rules for that [App Store] channel, it extends its power in the market over other, adjacent markets: for example, the parental control software market, where it has only just become a player,” Kaspersky Lab argued.

However, Apple finally released a statement on Sunday explaining its decision, claiming that the offending apps contained mobile device management (MDM) capabilities which could introduce extra security risk.

“MDM does have legitimate uses. Businesses will sometimes install MDM on enterprise devices to keep better control over proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky — and a clear violation of App Store policies — for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device,” it argued.

“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.”

It claimed that several developers updated their software to remove the MDM elements, while those that didn’t had their titles removed from the App Store.

“Parents shouldn’t have to trade their fears of their children’s device usage for risks to privacy and security, and the App Store should not be a platform to force this choice,” Apple continued. “No one, except you, should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device.”

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