Bitdefender retools Clueful following App Store ouster

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Two months after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) removed the Clueful privacy tracking application from its App Store, developer Bitdefender has relaunched the service for free on the mobile Web.

Clueful offers consumers insight into which iOS apps access personal data. iPhone and iPad owners can visit the Clueful site via the device browser to identify apps that track their location, upload address books to the cloud, drain a device's battery, aggressively target users with ads, track and aggregate usage through multiple analytics networks, or fail to encrypt personal data or transmissions. The Clueful privacy database now spans more than 100,000 applications, up from 65,000 when it was yanked from the App Store; during its weeks on sale in the storefront, Clueful determined that 42.5 percent of iOS apps do not encrypt users' data even when accessed via public Wi-Fi, while 41.4 percent of apps track location without disclosing that information to the consumer.

Apple removed the original $3.99 Clueful app on June 29. Bitdefender has declined to specify why Apple expelled the app, citing confidentiality agreements in Apple's iOS developer agreement; Apple has also declined to comment, although conventional wisdom suggests Clueful likely violated a section of Apple's App Review Guidelines covering "incorrect diagnostic or other inaccurate device data." Bitdefender said it is still working with Apple to bring Clueful back to the App Store.

Apple has alerted developers that its forthcoming iOS 6 operating system update will require all applications to obtain explicit user permission before accessing personal information stored on devices. All third-party iOS apps must now secure user authorization to access data including contacts, calendars, reminders and photos as well as location data. Apple first pledged to detail app permissions in February.

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