Earlier this week, Apple disabled Facebook and Google’s internal applications after privacy violations were revealed, leaving Google and Facebook employees at a standstill for key operations.
However, on Thursday, February 7, Apple widened its privacy feud with tech giants, blocking Google from running its internally built iOS apps, an apparent response to the search company’s violation of Apple’s developer terms.
The decision follows reports that Google had been running a voluntary program, similar to Facebook’s, that offered money to participants who installed an app on their phones – allowing Google to monitor their activities.
Google said last week that it was “working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps.”
Much like Facebook’s research app, Google software – called Screenwise Meter – had been designed and distributed to consumers under an enterprise developer certificate that restricts the user base to employees.
By making the apps available to the wider public, the tech companies ran afoul of Apple’s terms. Google has disabled Screenwise Meter on iOS devices and apologised to TechCrunch.
“We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organisation,” Apple said after TechCrunch reported on Facebook’s Research VPN app.
Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr said later that the company was “working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates.”
Apple also moved to restore Facebook’s enterprise certificate.
Facebook said in a statement that it was in the process of bringing its employee-facing apps back online and that no consumer facing apps were affected.
Apple has positioned itself as a major critic of the business models that power companies such as Google and Facebook.
Chief executive Tim Cook has called for legislation to rein in what he has described as a “data-industrial complex,” and the company’s products and marketing have increasingly emphasised privacy and security features in recent years.
But Apple itself came under fire this week for its own privacy mishap, after a bug emerged showing hackers could abuse its FaceTime feature to eavesdrop on those they called.