BitDefender’s “Clueful” app is the only pre-iOS 6 app available that can inform you about the privacy implications of various apps in the App Store and loaded onto your iDevices – and Apple has just removed it without explanation.
iOS6 will deliver long-awaited privacy settings, making it a genuine change over previous iOS versions.
iOS 6 may well obviate the need for Clueful, as it will let you control not just “location services” settings (which was essentially all you could control privacy-wise on previous iOS vresions), but also settings for individual apps can access reminders, calendars, contacts and even photos – with the new iOS to ask your permission before letting individual apps access these personal repositories of information.
However, in a world iOS 5.x, Clueful was best able to give users a clue about the privacy implications of the apps they’re using, with BitDefender stating it created Clueful “under the belief that iPhone owners should be able to learn which apps may be behaving unscrupulously with their personal data.”
Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender’s Chief Security Researcher stated that “while most app developers use this information for legitimate purposes, others might not.
“While Clueful remains off the App Store, we are working hard toward understanding why our app was removed and to develop the app to improve its chances of staying there”, he concluded.
BitDefender analysed “more than 60,000 popular iOS apps” and discovered that 42.5% “do not encrypt users’ personal data, even when sending it over public Wi-Fi”, 41.4% “can track a user’s location” and that “almost one in five of the apps analysed can access your entire Address Book; some even send your information to the cloud without even encrypting it”.
For those iDevice owners who have already purchased Clueful, they can continue using the app, with the Clueful team at BitDefender reaffirming “its commitment to continued development of Clueful and will resubmit to Apple.”
Thus, Clueful may well return to the App Store in some form, but knowing if and when may not be so elementary!