Apple Faces Russian Probe After Kaspersky Complaint

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Russian watchdog investigates Apple, after it declined to approve Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Kid app

Apple is once again clashing with makers of parental control apps, but this time it is reportedly being investigated by Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog.

The investigation began after a complaint from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, that the iPad maker may be abusing its dominant market position.

Apple had already clashed with the makers of a number of parental control apps back in April after it had removed or restricted at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps.

Parental control

Last month Apple restored a parental control app called OurPact, after the app was revised and satisfied its scrutineers.

But it seems that Apple is again rejecting those parental control apps it deems violations its terms and conditions.

According to Reuters, the Russian FAS watchdog said it was investigating why a new version of Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Kids application had been declined by Apple’s operating system, resulting in a significant loss in functionality for the parental control app.

The watchdog reportedly said Apple had released version 12 of its own parental control app, Screen Time, which had similar functions to the Kaspersky program.

When Reuters asked Apple about the Russian investigation, the iPad maker referred Reuters to an 28 April statement in which it said it had recently removed several parental control apps from its App Store because they “put users’ privacy and security at risk”, as they used a “highly invasive technology called Mobile Device Management, or MDM.”

Apple says that the use of MDM in a consumer-focused app is a violation of App Store policies.

But Kaspersky has responded and said that Apple’s App Store guidelines allowed for a limited use of MDM, but that it was not clear how to obtain Apple’s permission to do so.

The Russian security vendor also said the requirements reduced the competitiveness of third party developers.

App removals

Of course Apple does periodically remove apps from its app store.

Last August for example it removed illegal lottery apps from its App Store in China after criticism from state media outlets.

Apple is also embroiled in a very public row with Spotify, after the popular music streaming service filed an anti trust complaint and accused Apple of giving its own music streaming service a leg up over the competition on the App Store.

A second complaint concerned the large fees that Apple charges for all purchases via its app store.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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