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More China App Store Headaches for Apple: Hundreds of Apps Found to Collect User Data

A report from the analytics firm SourceDNA found 256 apps using a third-party advertising tool that harvested personal information and sent it off to its own servers.

Shrug image: iStock

China continues to present some unusual challenges for Apple, which confirmed that it has removed apps that collected private user data such as email addresses and device identifiers.

Researchers from SourceDNA found 256 apps using a third-party advertising tool that harvested personal information and sent it off to its own servers. The software developer kit in question comes from a Chinese mobile advertising company, Youmi.

Apple issued a statement confirming that Youmi’s software collected private information in violation of Apple’s security and privacy policies. These apps have been removed from the App Store. Ars Technica was the first to report on the problem.

Just a month ago, the App store was targeted by hackers who duped Chinese software developers into downloading a fake version of Apple’s tool for creating apps for the iPhone and iPad. These developers used a tainted version of Xcode to create apps that contained malicious code.

The developers, frustrated with the long load times for Apple’s Xcode, turned to the unauthorized version that was more quickly available online — but contained hidden malware.

China is an increasingly important market for Apple, accounting for 20 percent of the Cupertino technology giant’s revenue in the most recent quarter. And like other foreign companies, Apple adheres to the government’s strict regulations — reportedly prompting it to disable the mobile news app in China, where the media is tightly regulated.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.