iPhone

Facebook collected device data on 187,000 users using banned snooping app

Facebook obtained personal and sensitive device data on about 187,000 users of its now-defunct Research app, which Apple banned earlier this year after the app violated its rules. The social media giant said in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office — which TechCrunch obtained — that it collected data on 31,000 users in the…


Facebookobtained personal and sensitive device data on about 187,000 users of its now-defunct Research app, which Apple banned earlier this year after the app violated its rules.

The social media giant said in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office — which TechCrunch obtained — that it collected data on 31,000 users in the U.S., including 4,300 teenagers. The rest of the collected data came from users in India.

Earlier this year, a TechCrunch investigation found both Facebook and Google were abusing their Apple-issued enterprise developer certificates, designed to only allow employees to run iPhone and iPad apps used only inside the company. The investigation found the companies were building and providing apps for consumers outside Apple’s App Store, in violation of Apple’s rules. The apps paid users in return for collecting data on how participants used their devices and to understand app habits by gaining access to all of the network data in and out of their device.

Apple banned the apps by revoking Facebook’s enterprise developer certificate — and later Google’s enterprise certificate. In doing so, the revocation knocked offline both companies’ fleet of internal iPhone or iPad apps that relied on the same certificates.

But in response to lawmakers’ questions, Apple said it didn’t know how many devices installed Facebook’s rule-violating app.

“We know that the provisioning profile for the Facebook Research app was created on April 19, 2017, but this does not necessarily correlate to the date that Facebook distributed the provisioning profile to end users,” said Timothy Powderly, Apple’s director of federal affairs, in his letter.

Facebook said the app dated back to 2016.

A portion of Apple’s letter to lawmakers. (Image: TechCrunch)

TechCrunch also obtained the letters sent by Apple and Google to lawmakers in early March, but were never made public.

These “research” apps relied on willing participants to download the a

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Daily Crunch: Cloudflare is going public

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Cloudflare files for initial public offering The web infrastructure company has recently found itself at the center of political debates around…


The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Cloudflare files for initial public offering

The web infrastructure company has recently found itself at the center of political debates around some of its customers, including social media networks like 8chan and racist media companies like the Daily Stormer. In fact, the company went so far as to cite 8chan as a risk factor in its public offering documents.

Even so, the company will likely be worth billions when it starts trading on the market. And we have to point out that Cloudflareactually made its debut on TechCrunch’s Battlefield stage back in 2010.

2. Apple is suing Corellium

Corellium allows customers to create and interact with

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iPhone

Vignette is a handy new app that keeps your iOS contact photos up to date

If there’s a special place in your heart for single-purpose utilities that solve a nagging problem, then you’re going to want to skip your daily Starbucks coffee and instead buy yourself a copy of the new iOS contacts utility Vignette. The new app is focused on doing one thing well: finding photos for your contacts…


If there’s a special place in your heart for single-purpose utilities that solve a nagging problem, then you’re going to want to skip your daily Starbucks coffee and instead buy yourself a copy of the new iOS contacts utility Vignette. The new app is focused on doing one thing well: finding photos for your contacts by scouring social media profiles and updating them.

Many people don’t bother to add a photo when entering in an iOS contact for the first time — it’s often an afterthought at best. And because the iOS Contacts app directs you to your own photo library to find an image when editing a contact, adding a photo tends to be something people only do for close friends and family. (After all, most people don’t carry photos of co-workers, clients or business colleagues on their iPhone.)

But that means when you use Apple’s Phone app or iMessage and others, you see gray boxes with the person’s initials instead of a colorful picture.

It’s a minor grievance, sure, but one that can impact people with wide networks — like those who interact with a range of clients or customers as part of their job, or remot

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iPhone

Week-in-Review: Apple has a Supreme headache and Bitcoin bites back – TechCrunch

For all of the swirling conversations of tech regulation that have continues the past several years, few of those waxing poetic on the topic likely assumed that Apple would be the first tech giant to capture the government’s ire, but a Supreme Court ruling this week cleared the way for an anti-trust reckoning for Apple’s…


For all of the swirling conversations of tech regulation that have continues the past several years, few of those waxing poetic on the topic likely assumed that Apple would be the first tech giant to capture the government’s ire, but a Supreme Court ruling this week cleared the way for an anti-trust reckoning for Apple’s walled garden App Store.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Apple on Monday, determining that a group of iPhone users will be allowed to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant. The group is alleging that Apple’s 30 percent cut in the App Store passes on an unfair cost to users that have no other options to get the apps onto their phone.

The ruling is decidedly not great for Apple, which has long-enjoyed a monopoly on app sales on its devices, with, to be fair, some very clear benefits for users along the way. If Apple were forced to allow other stores on its platform or significantly shape how it monetized app sales, this could have pretty significant effects on how platforms like iOS operate.

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While this ruling won’t impact Apple in the near-term obviously, it could have some massive effects if and when other lawsuits in this vein pop up against Apple, especially given the company’s renewed reliance on software services as its iPhone sales slow.

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green

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Apple patches iOS App Store bug that was preventing app downloads

Apple is rolling out a fix for an App Store bug that was preventing users from downloading new iOS apps or app updates. The issue, which impacted an unknown number of users, involved a Terms & Conditions dialog box that would continue to pop up even when users tapped the “Agree” button. The issue had…


Apple is rolling out a fix for an App Store bug that was preventing users from downloading new iOS apps or app updates. The issue, which impacted an unknown number of users, involved a Terms & Conditions dialog box that would continue to pop up even when users tapped the “Agree” button.

The issue had frustrated users who took to Twitter in an attempt to get help from Apple Support.

9to5Mac and AppleInsider previously reported on the problem, citing the social media complaints. The Apple Support account had not responded publicly to those who reached out, beyond asking customers to get in touch on DM with more details or pointing those with more vague complaints to a support doc about connection issues.

The bug was affecting a small percentage of Apple’s iOS user base worldwide, we understand from people familiar with the problem

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