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Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images, LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook is pulling its Onavo Protect virtual private network (VPN) mobile app after Apple said it violated its data collection policies.

The context: Onavo offers customers a free VPN, which encrypts all communications between two devices, while giving Facebook insight into what apps and services customers use on their device. Bloomberg had warned in June that changes in Apple's policies could be aimed at Onavo.

What they're saying:

  • Apple: "We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used."
  • Facebook: “We've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used. As a developer on Apple's platform we follow the rules they've put in place.”
  • Tech and media consultant Martin Bryant: "Onavo is an important part of Facebook's M&A strategy. Cutting it off from iOS stops Facebook from knowing as much about what apps are emerging as hot trends that need buying or copying."

The bottom line: This move is yet another schism in a widening divide between the two companies. Apple paints itself as a privacy champion that doesn't depend on user data for its revenue, while Facebook sees itself as bringing positive connections to billions of people around the world.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.