Apple Inc. came under fire when media reports said that it was sending users’ private browsing data to China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Google. The reports suggested that the tech giant was sending web browsing data, including IP addresses from the past two years. There’s an in-built security feature in Apple’s products iPhone, Mac, and iPad, which warns the users if they find any website malicious or unsafe. To check if the site is malicious or problematic or not, both Tencent and Google maintains a list. Tencent does it for users in China, while Google takes care of the US and other regions.
As the news surfaced, Apple refuted the claims. The company made it clear that it safeguards people’s information in its own systems and doesn’t send any such info to the said companies.
Though in Apple’s documentation, it is said its Safari browser “may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These browsing providers may also log your IP address.”
Apple clarified that it doesn’t send information, but it receives a list of bad websites from Google and Tencent and uses it to protect people while they surf. In a statement given to Bloomberg, Apple said, “The URL or website address being checked is never shared with a safe browsing provider.”
Apple, however, agreed that it may share the IP address of the person’s browser with Google or Tencent. Those who want to safeguard their privacy as this can give their location can turn off this service in Safari preferences on both Mac and iPhone.
People are concerned about how their information is handled especially after the episodes of misusing the users’ personal and private information by various companies, including Facebook. The companies handle the users’ information poorly and misuse this data for their gains.
Apple has always advocated that it gives utmost importance to users’ privacy and security and its devices are the safest in the industry. Tim Cook, Apple CEO has said, ‘Privacy is ingrained in the Constitution.’ With security and privacy being the USP of Apple, such news surfacing in the media is really a matter of concern.