Apple strikes privacy app Clueful from store

Bitdefender's privacy application, Clueful, has been barred from Apple's App Store, despite being there for almost two months.

Apple has struck Bitdefender's Clueful app from the App Store, despite the application being on the market for over a month.

Clueful first launched on Apple's App Store in May as a paid application that users could employ to help identify apps that were suspicious or otherwise careless with personal data. At its launch, Bitdefender told ZDNet Australiathat it would provide iOS users with a way to judge apps in a similar fashion to how Android users are able to view application permissions natively.

(Credit: Bitdefender)

It appears that Apple has taken issue with Clueful's claims to help users "know what your iOS apps are really doing", removing it from the App Store and effectively preventing any new users from using its services. Those who purchased Clueful prior to the blockade will still be able to use it.

Bitdefender does not appear to have been given a definitive reason for the removal of its app, with chief security researcher Catalin Cosoi saying in a statement that the company is "working hard toward understanding why our app was removed, and to develop the app to improve its chances of staying there".

Cosoi does mention, however, that it could be that some users have been abusing the app.

"Most app developers use [Clueful's] information for legitimate purposes, others might not."

The removal of Clueful some time after it was launched also raises some questions about Apple's submission process and why the app was originally approved. The reason may lie with claims made recently by an ex-Apple employee, who said that Apple's app review team is vastly understaffed.

Bitdefender has stated that it is still committed to the development of Clueful, and will resubmit the application to Apple. Even so, the relevance of Clueful may soon be significantly diminished due to the new privacy settings that are expected to roll out in iOS6.

ZDNet Australia contacted Bitdefender and Apple for comment, but had not received a response at the time of writing.