Apple is under scrutiny for how its App Store testing process handles cryptocurrency and wallet trading app submissions. In a letter today to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee asked what “steps your company is taking to prevent fraudulent activity in your app store. “.
Cryptocurrency Scams on the App Store
As first spotted by The edge, Senator Sherrod Brown’s letter comes as the FBI and other agencies have issued warnings about the proliferation of crypto scams. Apple plays a role in these scams, Brown said, by offering a number of mobile apps for trading cryptocurrencies.
In recent years, crypto trading platforms and exchanges have seen a resurgence in popularity with millions of investors downloading mobile apps to trade and invest in digital assets. Millions of Americans use mobile apps to invest in unregulated digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency mobile apps are publicly available through app stores, including the Apple App Store. While crypto apps have offered investors easy and convenient ways to trade cryptocurrency, there have been reports of fake crypto apps that have scammed hundreds of investors.
As such, Brown asks Cook to explain in depth the steps taken by Apple when testing App Store submissions for crypto apps. The Democratic senator explained that it is “imperative that app stores have the appropriate safeguards in place to prevent fraudulent mobile app activity.”
Brown specifically wants answers to the following questions and sent a series of similar questions to Google CEO Sundar Pichai:
- Describe the testing process your company follows before approving crypto apps for operation in your app store. In your response, please provide the following information:
- The factors or criteria used by your company to determine whether an application should be approved, including the steps taken by your company to confirm that the application requesting approval is a trusted and secure application.
- Describe the measures taken by your app store to prevent cryptocurrency apps operating in your app store from circumventing app store policies by transforming themselves into phishing apps. In your response, please describe in detail how often your app store monitors apps to protect against fraudulent activity, as well as the steps you should take to remove apps found to be fraudulent.
- Describe any systems and processes your company has in place to allow users to report fraudulent apps.
- Describe any actions your app store has taken to alert users to actual or potential fraudulent activity associated with cryptocurrency investment apps.
- Since January 2020, has your app store coordinated or shared any actions or activities with other app stores related to the suspension or removal of fraudulent cryptocurrency apps? If yes, please explain.
Brown is asking Apple and Google to respond to these questions by August 10, 2022.
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Does Apple allow crypto scam apps in the App Store? US lawmakers want to know
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