Safari on iOS could be sending tracking data to China

Apple’s Safari browser has been sending user data to Google Safe Browsing in an effort to help protect users from phishing scams but now it appears that the browser is also sending data to the Chinese tech giant Tencent as well.By examining Safari’s Fraudulent Website Warning disclaimer, users discovered that iOS 13 (and possibly other versions of iOS starting at 12.2) sends data to Tencent Safe Browsing in addition to Google.As of now, it is not clear whether Tencent collects any information on users outside of China. However, in its disclaimer, Safari does inform users that their data is being sent to the company to protect users from visiting fraudulent websites, saying:
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“Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These safe browsing providers may also log your IP address.”
Safe browsing
While the practice of sending browser data to a company to help users avoid fraudulent websites and phishing scams is nothing new, some are concerned over what Tencent may do with the data it receives.Google and Tencent both have the ability to log user’s IP addresses so that their anti-phishing systems can work but since Tencent frequently cooperates with the Chinese government, concerns have been raised over how its data could be used for surveillance or other nefarious purposes.According to John Hopkins University professor Matthew Green, a malicious provider could theoretically use Google’s Safe Browsing to de-anonymize someone by linking site requests. If Tencent employs a similar method, the data it collects could be used to identify users if the Chinese government puts pressure on the company to reveal dissidents.To avoid unwanted data collection by Safari, you could turn off its Fraudulent Website Warning feature (which Apple enables by default) but this could leave you even more at risk of falling victim to fraud. If you’re more concerned over Tencent having access to your data, then it might be a better idea to use a different, more privacy-focused browser instead.
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Via Engadget