Apple has started removing some adblockers from its App Store after they rocketed to the top of the download charts.
To do that they installed root certificates on the devices and funnelled a user’s web traffic through a virtual private network (VPN) or proxy service, filtering out any advertising.
Those apps have been deemed dangerous by Apple and removed from the App Store as they allow third-parties to view and interfere with a user’s browsing, even if encrypted – something that is often called a man-in-the-middle attack.
An Apple spokesperson said: “Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We’ve removed a few apps from the App Store that install root certificates, which enable the monitoring of customer network data that can in turn be used to compromise SSL/TLS security solutions. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk.”
Blocking ads is controversial, classified as morally objectionable by some. Apple carefully crafted its content-blocking system to enable removal of content within mobile Safari only, not within third-party or other Apple apps. Apple’s News app, for instance, displays ads served by either the publisher of the content or Apple.
The company behind the iPhone gets a cut of every advert that it serves against publisher content, meaning that it is in Apple’s best interest to prevent wholesale adblocking outside of Safari.
The developer of Been Choice said that it would be changing its adblocking app to “remove ad blocking for Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Pinterest apps” and resubmit to Apple in an attempt to be allowed back into the store.
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