Apple has come under scrutiny following a post by the online privacy and rights blog Reclaim The Net which pointed out that users of the Safari Web browser might have had their browsing behaviour sent to Chinese tech giant Tencent. Safari uses Tencent’s Safe Browsing filter in addition to Google Safe Browsing in order to protect users from phishing attacks and similar online scams IP addresses, raising concerns that the data might also be used to help track users’ online activity and circumvent privacy measures. Apple has not been keeping this a secret, but the blog post points out that it is not known whether data only from users in China is sent to Tencent, or whether those in other parts of the world are also affected.
Update: Apple has responded to reports about it sending some browsing data to Tencent in a statement.
According to the blog post, Apple’s privacy information page for Safari in iOS 13 clearly states that information might be sent to Tencent, but it is not clear how much data is sent or if there are any privacy protections in place. This appears to have been incorporated with iOS 12.2 for devices outside China, according to a tweet cited by Reclaim The Net, although AppleInsider points out that it was introduced within China with iOS 11.
Users can disable Safari’s Fraudulent Website Warning feature, but it is enabled by default and many people might not even know that it is working in the background. It works by checking hashed versions of the website addresses that users attempt to visit against Google and Tencent’s vast databases of known malicious websites. As this is happening, the user’s IP address is also sent to the companies. By correlating these requests and tracking browsing patterns, it could be possible to identify individual users.
The notice is found several levels deep in the iOS Settings app, and also appears on iOS 12.2 and iOS 13 in India. Safari on macOS only names Google as a company that information will be sent to.
Reclaim The Net cites several examples showing that Tencent has close ties with the Chinese government, and suggests that the company might be forced to hand over data to be used for other purposes such as surveillance. The discovery comes against the backdrop of long-running protests in Hong Kong against Chinese political influence, as well as the recent controversy around game developer Blizzard banning a Hearthstone player and withholding his prize winnings for expressing support for Hong Kong.
Apple has also recently been in the news for pulling an app used by Hong Kong protestors to track police movements from the iOS App Store, and for removing the Taiwan flag emoji from iOS in China.
The company has not yet responded publicly to concerns about this new issue. Gadgets 360 reached out to Apple for comment, but did not hear back at the time of this report.
Microsoft Teams gets new video features, Fluid docs & digital downtime
Windows 11 may not be quite ready for primetime, but Microsoft isn’t letting that stop it from launching its latest features for the hybrid workplace, including updates to Teams and new Fluid support across more apps. For meetings mixing together in-person and remote participants – which look likely to persist well beyond 2021 – Microsoft has new video calling features … Continue reading
Researchers develop a deep learning method able to animate portions of a photo
We’ve all looked at a photograph at some point of something like the ocean, clouds, or waterfall, and for the briefest time, it almost seems like the picture is moving. Typically, that perceived motion is just a trick of our minds. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new deep learning method that can animate certain portions of … Continue reading
Facebook developes a method of detecting and attributing deepfakes
Deepfakes have been around for a while now, but recently they’ve become so realistic that it’s hard to tell a deepfake from a legitimate video. For those who might be unfamiliar, a deepfake takes the face and voice of a famous person and creates a video of that person saying or doing things they’ve never actually done. Deepfakes are most … Continue reading
Here’s what’s inside Google’s first-ever retail store
The inside of the store is wood-on-wood, with these crazy bendy poles everywhere. If you’re thinking, “That store design reminds...
Peter Jackson’s 6-hour Beatles documentary confirmed for Disney+ this November
The Beatles: Get Back is now a Disney+ exclusive. And hoo boy, it’s six hours long. The Walt Disney Company...
5 tips for brands that want to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing – TechCrunch
Eric Dahan is co-founder and CEO of Open Influence, one of the first agencies to embrace influencer marketing. If I...
Lordstown Motors woes worsen with binding order update
Lordstown Motors has dropped itself in a new set of electric truck troubles, admitting that despite what previous announcements may...
Bethesda VP offers apology for Starfield’s absence on PS5
Bethesda Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Pete Hines talks to GameSpot about Starfield. This week, Microsoft and Bethesda...
Social1 year ago
CrashPlan for Small Business Review
Gadgets3 years ago
A fictional Facebook Portal videochat with Mark Zuckerberg – TechCrunch
Mobile3 years ago
Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time tracking – TechCrunch
Social3 years ago
iPhone XS priciest yet in South Korea
Cars3 years ago
What’s the best cloud storage for you?
Security3 years ago
Google latest cloud to be Australian government certified
Cars3 years ago
SK Telecom and Samsung to collaborate on 5G for enterprise
Social3 years ago
Apple’s new iPad Pro aims to keep enterprise momentum