On Friday, Apple Inc. removed five apps associated with Alex Jones’ Infowars website from its App Store.
According to The Wall Street Journal, an Apple spokesperson cited the apps’ violation of app-developer guidelines as the reason for its removal.
These guidelines reject apps that are “offensive, insensitive, upsetting … or in exceptionally poor taste.”
Now it comes that Apple is the one delivering upsetting content after Mac security researchers found that one of Apple’s bestselling paid Mac apps essentially works like spyware.
According to Wired, researchers discovered that the Mac app Adware Doctor, claiming to be a simple adware scanner, collects data about its users and sends the information to a server apparently located in China.
To download Adware Doctor, users must grant it access to the macOS “Home” folder. Because of its high rank in the Mac App store, most people assume that the app is aboveboard.
However, once the user allows it access, the app blatantly disobeys Apple’s rules and violates people’s privacy.
Patrick Wardle of Digita Security found that Adware Doctor collects user data like browsing history and the other software and processes running on the Mac. The app then stores that data and gives it to China.
“This app is horrible, it just blatantly violates so many Apple App Store guidelines,” Wardle told Wired. “And the reviews are just glowing, which is usually a sign that they’re fake.”
“Apple exudes this hubris that ‘hey, we have this all figured out, you can trust us.’ But the reality is there’s this really shady, really popular app and they haven’t done anything.”
Apple made a hefty profit off of the app before they pulled it from the Mac App store weeks after they were warned of potential issues — and only after Wired released its report on Thursday.
“I don’t assume that Apple is being malicious, it’s probably just that they overlooked this.” Wardle told Wired. “But this app is presumably making Apple tons of money.
“If they pulled the app and then refunded customers’ money that would help to illustrate their commitment to safety in the App Store,” he added.
Apple may have been too busy restricting access to Infowars to pay much attention to its customers’ security and privacy concerns. Apple was one of the last spots scrubbed clean of Alex Jones, following Twitter’s permanent ban on Jones and Infowars.
Infowars and its founder have also been forced off of Facebook and YouTube.
Jones maintains that his First Amendment rights are being infringed upon to silence his voice.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions scheduled a meeting for later this month to address the concern that big tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook may be intentionally suppressing freedom of speech.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.