Categories: Issues and Troubleshooting : Maps : Mobile - iPhone : Mobile App :

Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app

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Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app AxelSanFrancisco 12/18/12 7:50 AM
Hi Google team.

I recently I found a leak in your app that allows to bypass the parental controls of the iPhone:

To block a kid's iPhone from internet porn, I activated the restrictions and shut out Safari (and downloaded the K9 Safe Browser instead). 
You application which can be accessed and downloaded by kids. However, it can show information that is for adults even with iPhone restrictions "on":

1) Open the maps for iphone app
2) search for "google.com"
3) the app will show results that fit to that search string. most likely, one of them "links" to google.com.
4) Klick on the link. The in-app-browser will guide you to google.com or a site that allows you to find google.com 
5) Type in any porn website in the google search bar and klick search.
6) Watch porn in your in-app-browser in the maps for iPhone app. You can even watch movies as the movie player gets activated if you click on a link that leads to a non-flash movie.

Please note that I can do all of that although Safari is blocked.

I see an easy fix for this problem:
* Get rid of the in app browser in maps for iPhone and link to Safari.

Please let me know your thoughts on this issues.
Re: Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app AxelSanFrancisco 12/20/12 10:25 AM
Why is this topic not taken up?
Re: Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app treebles 12/20/12 11:18 AM
It was brought up to the attention of Google employees so they can investigate.
They would comment in this thread when they have something to share.
Re: Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app AxelSanFrancisco 12/20/12 11:34 AM
Thanks! By the way: This feedback loop "it was brought up to their attention" is great, it at least shows that an idea or question was recognized.
Re: Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app miocene 1/3/13 8:18 AM
As far as I can see this would be an issue for any iOS app that uses the webkit API, of which there are many including Twitter, Facebook, flipboard. Although i haven't tried it I assume despite restricting safari iOS still allows apps using the webkit API to display web pages. So it's probably an issue with the Apple iOS dev practices rather than the maps app specifically.
Re: Design issue: Kids can watch Pornography over Google Maps for iPhone app AxelSanFrancisco 1/3/13 8:25 AM
Yes, you are right in this - partly.
On the one hand-side, this is certainly an issue with the webkit API. Therefore it applies to a lot of apps.

On the other hand side, developers can take care in e.g. restricting the webkit API to only specific addresses that do not contain any links to other sites. This is practical for some banks (which have done this, e.g. Wells Fargo), but it certainly is not practical for Google maps. What would make a difference for Google are two things:
  • Large picture: Talk to Apple and urge them to make a change. This is a large issue. Take responsibility and bring it up as a large partner.
  • Direct answer/solution: In the Google maps application, read the restrictions settings. If Safari is blocked, do not allow any outgoing links. 
What are your thoughts, miocene?