In-App Ad Blocker Been Choice Returns To App Store

Apple has restored controversial in-app ad blocker Been Choice to the App Store a week after it was removed.

Been told TechWeekEurope the application was re-released by Apple without any action taken by the developer itself. Indeed, Been CEO Dave Yoon said his firm had submitted a version without the in-app blocking features last week in the hope that Been Choice could be downloaded in some form.

“To emphasise, the version released by Apple is the original version; not one of our two modified (less powerful) versions submitted for review over the past week,” said Yoon. “We are incredibly surprised but also very happy and relieved.”

Been Choice

Been was able to block ads by routing traffic through a VPN, which allows for deep packet inspection to remove the ads. The company claims no data is stored on its servers and it only looks at ad/tracker traffic, not more private information like banking details.

Yoon said his app was never a risk to user privacy and in fact strengthened it by giving more control and allowing people to gain greater ownership of the value of their information.

However despite the fact Apple has made the full features of the app again, Been has temporarily suspended the in-app blocking process until it gains a better understanding of the “mixed messages” issued by Apple over the past week.

“We restricted our App’s geographic availability as soon as we discovered that Apple had released it to the US App Store in order to be certain that the release was not a technical or other type of glitch by the App Store,” added Yoon.

It is unclear if Apple was aware of Been Choice’s abilities when it was approved but Yoon said it had always been clear about the abilities and intention of its application. However Apple’s change in stance highlights concerns that despite a vetting process, the App Store is not one hundred percent impenetrable.

Last month, hundreds of applications were found to be affected by malware known as XcodeGhost that can steal user’s private information in what was the first ever major attack on the App Store.

TechWeekEurope has contacted Apple but has not yet received a response.

UPDATE: Been Choice has been taken down again. The original app was seemingly restored in error.

“Apple has contacted us to tell us that the release of Been with the version with root cert was in error,” Yoon told TechWeekEurope. “In-app ad blocking is possible without root certs, so we will take that piece out asap.”

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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