As if not enough problems involving the name of the Apple at China (such as the removal of the Taiwanese flag emoji in the country and the banning of the HKmap.live app ban in Hong Kong) is once again a company of criticism. The reason for this: send Safari users browsing data to Chinese Tencent, as posted on a blog specializing in online privacy last weekend.
It is well known that Safari may send navigation information to Google in order to protect users from phishing and online scams. However, information found by the account blog that the company is also sending this data to China's largest internet service portal, which manages several platforms (including advertising) in the country.
Ma, however, was not trying to hide it; The practice is described in the terms "Safari and Privacy" which says:
By all means, the default feature enabled on iPhones and iPads, which means that most users can have their browsing information shared with Tencent however, this can be circumvented by disabling the “Fraudulent Site Warning” in the settings. from Safari.
It's not clear when Apple started sending data to Tencent, but there are reports that this has been happening at least since the beta versions of iOS 12.2, officially released last March.
Apple's new "partnership" is even more controversial because Tencent is a supposed ally of the Chinese Communist Party, which would have collaborated with the government to censor content and users of its WeChat app.
In addition, online security expert Matthew Green believes that users deserve to be informed about this kind of change so they can choose whether they want their data sent to Tencent.
At the very least, users must learn about these changes before Apple imposes the option and thus ask millions of its customers to trust them.
Apple has not responded to requests for feedback and has not confirmed since when the option is enabled on iOS. We'll see what (or if) the company pronounces.
Update by Eduardo Marques 10/14/2019 15:11
Apple clarified the issue by making the following statement:
Apple protects users' privacy and protects their data with Safari's Fraudulent Site Warning, a security feature that signals sites known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is enabled, Safari checks the website URL for known site lists and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected to be fraudulent, such as phishing.
To accomplish this task, Safari receives from Google a list of sites known as malicious and, for devices with the region code set for mainland China, receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a secure browsing provider and the feature may be disabled.
That is, according to Apple, users are properly protected. Outside China, everything continues exactly as it was, as we can see in the tweet below:
In China, as the URL itself that the user is visiting is not shared, apparently no broken privacy.