It seems that there has been a culling of iOS applications on the App Store – to the tune of hundreds, in fact, according to a report from analytics service SourceDNA. This particular report claims that a bunch of apps have actually picked up users’ personally identifiable information, ranging from the various e-mail addresses that are associated with their Apple IDs, devices and peripheral serial numbers, not to mention other apps that have been installed on their respective iOS-powered handsets. These apps made use of an SDK from a Chinese advertising company known as Youmi, where private APIs accessed such information.
Most of the developers hailed from China, so this looks as though it is an isolated incident, but the bigger question is, how long has such a “racket” been running? Not only that, does this show that the App Store review process by Apple has its fair share of weaknesses? What if this suspect activity was not caught or highlighted by a third party, then what would have happened?
All in all, SourceDNA has figured out 256 apps that have an estimated total of 1 million downloads which made use of a version of the Youmi SDK that had the capability of violating user privacy. Do leave room for the benefit of doubt that some of these developers had no idea of what the Youmi SDK was capable of though.