Privacy App That Revealed Which Apps Are Tracking You Is Yanked From App Store

Privacy App That Revealed Which Apps Are Tracking You Is Yanked From App Store

Clueful helped identify “misdemeanant apps on your iPhone,” but now it’s gone.

Clueful, from antivirus experts Bitdefender, is a great little app for iOS that tells you which of your apps are accessing your personal data, and exactly what data they may be interested in. We wrote about it back in May when it first hit the App Store, and I liked it so much that I included it in one of my must-have apps roundups.

But it seems Apple wasn’t so keen, because it has now yanked Clueful from the App Store, and no one knows why.

Clueful came at just the right time. Following concerns over privacy on iOS, and how some apps are guilty of accessing and recording our data, everyone wants a better understanding of which apps are accessing their information. Clueful helped us do that.

Its App Store description read:

You’d be surprised how many things an app can learn about you and what you do. Without you ever knowing it. Clueful is the only way to really understand iOS apps, how they use your private data and treat your privacy. This one-of-a-kind product identifies intrusive applications and shows you what they do behind your back.

But it seems Clueful was also breaking Apple’s rules, because it’s no longer available to download from the App Store. No one really knows why, other than Apple and Clueful, of course, who aren’t willing to disclose this information.

Apple simply said in its statement:

Apple informed Bitdefender’s product development team of the removal — for reasons the company is studying — after initial approval and sale in the App Store.

Some believe that the app’s removal may have something to do with Apple’s new privacy features in iOS 6, which ask for your permission every time a new app attempts to access your contacts, your location, or your camera roll.

The Cupertino company will want users to feel safe with this new feature, like we can trust iOS 6 to protect our data. But an app that highlights all the information other apps are accessing isn’t going to help with that.

Nevertheless, Bitdefender is determined to bring Clueful back. The company told SecurityWeek:

While Clueful remains off the App Store, we are working toward building data privacy awareness and will continue to develop products that help consumers remain secure regardless of platform.

  • tomp

    That’s easy… the app uses a private API. Since apps on the iPhone are unaware of other apps, the only way to find out info about other apps is to use a private API.

  • kramer_jk

    I think that people that are concerned about privacy should have the right to use an App like this. While I appreciate Apple’s curated approach to Apps 99.9% of the time, banning this App is very questionable without a legitimate reason. There are some questionable Apps out there that people need to be concerned about. Everybody in Silicon Valley acts as if they’re upstanding and innocent but the reality is that some of the nicest sounding companies are some of the most sneaky when it comes to these privacy issues. Everybody talks about Facebook privacy issues, but they’re really the tip of the iceberg. Everybody is starting to be aware of the issues that are inherent with Facebook and the privacy issues that you need to watch out for on there. The bigger issues come from trusted companies that try and get this data (see Path for instance, they had a reputation for privacy when the reality was opposite) but these companies need to be more careful about these types of issues. Look at http://www.dirtyphonebook.com and other sites that leak out this personal data, look at how Google makes this easily accessible to anybody that wants it. That’s not good for the web. Apple took a good first step by adjusting how the contacts API works to ask a user first, but more can be done directly on an OS level. I’m not sure how Apple banning this App helps anybody. :(

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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