Apple pulls host of 'binary trading' apps on demand by Australian government

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Apple and Google have agreed to pull 330 binary options trading apps from the App Store and Google Play at the request of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, which expressed concerns about numerous instances of fraud.

Some of the apps "make outrageous claims," according to ASIC market integrity head Greg Yanco, quoted by Bloomberg. Binary trading apps allow users to make "bets" on shares, currencies, and other market factors. Some of these may be legitimate, but others are unlicensed and operating across international borders — making them risky and out of reach of law enforcement.

ASIC noted that 80 percent of the pulled apps had no warnings about the dangers of trading.

An Apple spokeswoman said that the company has in fact updated its developer guidelines, directly banning binary trading apps. The company has removed apps worldwide, ASIC added.

Last week Apple removed virtual private network (VPN) apps from the Chinese App Store, looking to comply with local cybersecurity laws. A similar action is likely to take place in Russia on or sometime before Nov. 1, when even tougher anti-VPN regulations will come into effect.