Last year, Apple href = “https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/05/apple-puts-third-party-screen-time-apps-on-notice/”> removed some screen time and parental controls from the App Store apps shortly after the company released its first-party screen time solution, launching iOS 12. At today’s antitrust hearing, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned about the move, given the anti-competitive effects.
Shortly after Apple debuted its Screen Time feature set, several third-party developers suddenly saw their own screen time solutions being reviewed in the App Store. In addition, many apps have had their app updates rejected or apps removed altogether. Affected developers used a number of methods to monitor screen time because there were no official tools to do so. This included the use of background, VPN, and MDM-based solutions, and sometimes a combination of methods.
At the time, Apple defended its decision by saying that the removals pose a threat to users ’privacy and security because they need access to the device’s location, use of the app, email. Email accounts, camera permissions and more.
But lawmakers have questioned Apple̵7;s decision to suddenly seem to care about consumer privacy threats stemming from these programs, many of which have been on the market for many years.
Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-D) began asking questions by reading an email from a mother who wrote a letter to Apple about her frustration with removing programs. The letter, saying that Apple’s move “has reduced consumer access to much-needed services to keep children safe and protect their mental health and well-being.” She then asked why Apple had eliminated apps from competitors shortly after releasing its screen time solution.
Cook reacted in a similar way to Apple last year, saying the company cares about “children’s privacy and safety” and that the programs used by the programs are problematic.
“The technology that was in use at the time was called MDM. She had the ability to take over the child’s screen, and a third party could see it, “Cook said. “So we were worried about their safety.”
This is perhaps not the most accurate description of how MDM works, as MDM is described as some nasty remote control tool. In fact, MDM technology can be used legally in the mobile ecosystem and is still in use today. However, it was intended for use in an enterprise, for example, to manage a fleet of employee facilities, such as non-consumer telephones. MDM tools can access device location, manage application usage, email. Letter and set various permissions, among other things, that the business entity may want to do as part of its efforts to protect employee facilities.
In a way, that’s why it made sense for parents to want to similarly control and lock their children’s iPhones. Application developers, though not a consumer technology, have seen a hole in the market and have found a way to fill it with the tools they have. This is how the market works.
However, Apple’s arguments are incorrect. The way applications used MDM risked privacy. Instead of banning the programs altogether, he had to offer them an alternative. That is, instead of merely raising its competition, in addition to a consumer product, it also had to develop an API for the developer of the iOS display time solution.
Such an API could have allowed developers to build applications that could use Apple’s display time features and parental controls. Apple was able to give the apps a deadline to move rather than shut down their business. This would not have harmed developers or their end users and would have addressed privacy issues related to third-party applications.
“The timing of the move seems very coincidental,” McBath said. “If Apple didn’t try to hurt competitors to help its app, why did Phil Schiller, who runs the App Store, promote the Screen Time app to customers who complained about the removal of competing parental controls?”, She said. asked.
Cook replied that there are more than 30 screen time apps in the App Store today, so there is “active competition for parental control.”
However, McBath noted that some banned apps were released back to the App Store six months later without any significant privacy changes.
“Six months is really an eternity for small businesses that need to close. Even worse, if a bigger competitor actually takes away customers, ”she said.
Tim Cook was not given a further opportunity to answer the question as McBath continued to ask Apple about its refusal to allow Random House to sell email. Books in your app on non-Apple books.
Cook dismissed the issue, saying, “There are a number of reasons why an app may not initially go through the App Store,” noting that it could have been a technical issue.