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Apple strips some ad blocking apps from App Store due to security concerns

Apple has stripped an apparently small number of apps from its sprawling App Store, as they pose a security threat to iDevice owners.

The apps, which include ad blockers, all have one thing in common – they install root certificates in order to monitor mobile data traffic and carry out their blocking duties, but in doing so, they are potentially exposing users to being spied upon.

Hence the security risk, with user data passing through the app developer’s server in order for filtering to be carried out.

Reuters reports that an Apple spokeswoman issued a statement which read: "Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk."

One of the apps removed was called Been Choice, which blocks adverts in the Safari browser and directly in apps.

The company has since responded, tweeting: “Been's Choice app was pulled from the App Store. We'll remove ad blocking for FB, Google, Yahoo, and Pinterest apps.”

With this tweak made, the app may well be back in the store very shortly. It remains to be seen what action other developers who are affected will take.

Been Choice has been in the news recently due to the ethical issues raised by its in-app ad blocking system, although the firm’s co-founder, Dave Yoon, promised that it didn’t store any user content, and all filtering was done on the fly. The Choice app was also highlighted due to the fact that it blocks adverts in Apple’s own News app.

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.