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Parental Control App Developer Fires Back at Apple’s Statement on MDM Technology

Parental Control App Developer Fires Back at Apple’s Statement on MDM Technology

Apple on Sunday issued a response to a New York Times report that the Cupertino firm had removed a number of parental control apps from their App Store simply because the apps compete with Apple’s own iOS 12 Screen Time feature. Apple says it removed the titles because they posed a threat to user security.

Now, the developers of one of the apps affected by Apple’s crackdown are firing back.

Apple has argued it is focused on removing parental control apps based on MDM (mobile device management) systems. However, in a Medium post, OurPact – one of the apps affected by Apple’s moves – says Apple’s stance is misleading.

OurPact points out that Apple touts the security benefits of using MDM tech, Apple issues the MDM certificates, and is responsible for send MDM commands to user devices:

Unfortunately, Apple’s statement is misleading and prevents a constructive conversation around the future of parental controls on iOS.

Apple recently stated that its own MDM technology, used by millions, poses risks to user privacy and can be abused by hackers. This stands in contradiction to the fact that MDM technology was initially developed by Apple to ensure security of private data on remotely managed devices. Apple alone issues certificates to third parties to communicate with their MDM servers, and Apple themselves are responsible for sending all MDM commands to user devices.

OurPact’s developers echo sentiments expressed by Ben Lovejoy earlier this week, who said Apple should create official screen time APIs for developers.

If Apple offered alternate APIs to achieve the robust parental controls that OurPact provides we would happily use them. Unfortunately, no such API exists. All attempts to open a dialogue with Apple to create those APIs have also been refused.

OurPact devs go on to discuss the conversations it has held with Apple over the subject, and discusses how Apple has approved their app 37 times, with documented use of MDM. The devs say the OurPact app was yanked from the App Store with no prior notice from Apple.

In Apple’s public statement, they claimed that they gave developers 30 days to modify their apps in line with their guidelines, even though their guidelines make no mention of MDM. We did not receive any notice before OurPact’s child app was removed by Apple.

The full Medium post can be found here.

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