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Apple Removed This Ad Blocker Over Security Concerns

Been Choice blocked ads in Safari and apps like Facebook.
October 9, 2015, 12:57pm
Image: Been Choice

An ad blocking app named Been Choice has been pulled from the App Store after Apple objected to the technical method the app used to block ads.

Apple says the app potentially put users' private data at risk because, in order to block ads from apps like Facebook and Apple News (a news aggregator that debuted with iOS 9), it installed "root certificates which enable the monitoring of customer network data." Apple told iMore that it was concerned this could "be used to compromise" SSL/TLS encryption, thereby potentially letting third-parties read users' private data.

Been Choice later said it would comply with Apple's requested changes, and that the updated version of the app would no longer support ad blocking in apps. The company said it plans to re-submit the app for approval.

Despite having launched in September, Been Choice didn't achieve widespread attention until earlier this week after its developers conducted an interview with TechCrunch. The app differed from content blockers like Crystal and Purify in that, in addition to blocking ads in Safari, it also blocked ads in apps like Facebook, Google, and Pinterest. A digital ad executive told the Financial Times that ad blocking inside these kinds of apps represented "dangerous territory" for developers and advertisers.

Apple's removal of Been Choice comes about two weeks after the company created a new section of its website outlining the company's philosophy regarding privacy and the handling of users' private data.