Safari on iOS could be sending tracking data to China

Safari on iOS could be sending tracking data to China

One such example is a recent discovery that certain browsing data on an iOS device might be sent to none other than Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Technically, Safari fights against risky websites that could be used for phishing and other malicious tactics by scanning the links that you enter and determining whether a page poses a threat or not.

To determine if a link is unsafe or not, and therefore to determine if a warning should be shown, Safari sends some browsing data, including the page that you're attempting to load, to two different services.

The privacy community, he said, has mostly come to terms with the privacy trade-off that comes with Google's Safe Browsing API, figuring the security gains are worth the risk. The other belongs to Tencent.

Responding to concern that its Safari browser's defense against malicious websites may reveal the IP addresses of some users' devices to China-based Tencent, Apple insists that Safari doesn't reveal a different bit of information, the webpages Safari users visit.

The US company checks addresses against an existing list of sites known to be problematic.

The Web has become a bigger place and, at the same time, has also become more unsafe.

Until iOS 12.2, Apple primarily relied on the database of "blacklisted websites" provided by Google's Safe Browsing service, which obviously had a privacy drawback, i.e., Google could know what websites you visit and may also log your IP address to maintain your browsing history.

Google and Tencent are some of the major safe browsing providers, and Google's offering has been embraced by most modern browsers.

Safe Browsing collects so-called standard log information, which according to Google also includes your IP address and cookies.

Apple may deny users in China VPN protection, it may deny Hong Kong democracy protesters an app used to avoid police, and it may remove references to Taiwan in localized versions of iOS 13 for the Chinese-controlled Hong Kong and Macau. The new setting should be applied immediately, so the next time you launch the browser, no data should be sent to Google or Tencent.

To be honest, it's not that Tencent is evil, people are actually not comfortable in sharing their data with Tencent because the company has close ties with the Beijing government with questionable history in aiding censorship in the country.

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