In today's report by professor and cryptographer Matthew Green, concerns were expressed about Apple sharing user views with Tencent, a Chinese company. Now Apple has offered an official response, reassuring users that the actual URLs are not shared with third parties.
Apple used Google to provide secure browsing services, but with iOS 13, it began using Tencent to comply with Chinese standards.
Before visiting a website, Safari can send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the site is fraudulent. These secure browsing providers can also register your IP address.
As we reported this morning, professor and cryptographer Matthew Green expressed some concern that third parties see the IP addresses of users, as well as which web pages they are viewing.
Matthew Green, professor and cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University, says this is problematic because it can show both the webpage you are trying to visit and your IP address. It can also delete cookies on your device. This data could potentially be used to create a profile of your online behavior.
Bloomberg Apple has now received an official response on this, and the company reports that the actual URLs of the websites are not transmitted by Tencent or Google, and explains more about how fraudulent warnings on websites work, including that users may disable this feature.
The statement also clarifies concerns that US users may mix data with Tencent, a Chinese company. Apple explains that it uses Tencent only as a secure browser for users whose devices are installed with the mainland China region code.
Apple protects user privacy and protects your data with Safari Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that marks sites that are known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is turned on, Safari checks the website URL for lists of known websites and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected of fraudulent activities such as phishing. To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known as malicious, and for devices with a region code set for mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of the website you visit is never shared with the Safe Browsing Provider, and you can disable this feature.
Apple: "The actual URL of the website you are visiting is never shared with the Safe Browsing Provider, and you can disable this feature." Https://t.co/vgUYkinwhP
– Mark Gourmet (@markgurman) October 14, 2019
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