Apple has removed an app from its store that informed users if a third-party was spying on communications or had access to your data on your iPhone.
While Apple’s approval process for the App Store can be a notoriously fickle beast to tame, it seems that Stefan Esser’s ‘System and Security Info‘ is one of the latest undesirables, from Apple’s point-of-view.
In a nutshell, the app told you whether the software that your phone is running is authentic and was designed to tell you if there was malware or other undesirable software at play through its ‘anomaly detection’ tool. It can also detect if the phone has been jailbroken without the owner’s knowledge.
Unfortunately, the app ran into problems during its fourth review process for the App Store, and was removed. It was told that detecting weaknesses or problems in a user’s phone wasn’t allowed, and could lead to “potentially inaccurate and misleading diagnostic functionality for iOS devices.”
It’s a strange move to ban a seemingly benign app that’s already passed Apple’s approval process, particularly when it’s one designed to keep users informed if they’re being spied on in some way.
Critics argue that the removal of the app by Apple is designed to prevent potential weaknesses in the platform from being shown to users, which wouldn’t be very good for the company’s squeaky clean image.
It’s also a move that flies directly in the face of the public message Apple’s been putting out about its defense of users’ privacy from snooping, where possible.
It’s a decision that will likely confuse users and further erode faith put in the company by developers: there’s not a lot of incentive to build apps for a company that might just decide to ban your work because it doesn’t like it.