Apple says that Facebook’s Onavo VPN violates App Store rules

File photo: Close-up of a key and padlock lying on a red binary code surface. The lock is unlocked and gives a glowing grid. (Credit: AP)

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Back in 2013, Facebook acquired Israeli startup Onavo, and with access to the company’s mobile analytics and data compression tech. Both were good for use but more recently, Facebook launched the Onavo Protect security app for iOS.

As we noted back in February, Facebook promotes Onavo Protect as a way of keeping your data while surfing the mobile web. The app does this by using a VPN. However, Facebook also takes the opportunity to track users that use it and to send information about other apps and websites that are visited back to the mothership.


Facebook admits that Onavo collects mobile data traffic, but explains the way to improve the service.

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We were not happy with how Onavo works, and now, Apple is not. As CNBC reports Apple informed Facebook earlier this week that Onavo is now in conflict with the rules of the App Store due to the collection of the data. Why is this not in conflict with the rules for? Because Apple just updated the guidelines, which is intended Onavo now crosses the line about what is acceptable.

Apple apparently gave Facebook a choice: an update of the app, follow the new guidelines or the app is deleted. Facebook has decided to voluntarily remove Onavo Protect from the App Store rather than continue to offer protection without the collection of data. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

In a statement Facebook explained, “We have always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used … As a developer on Apple’s platform, we will follow the rules that they have put in place.”

It is unclear whether Onavo will ever appear in the App Store, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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