Safari in iOS Sends Some Browsing Data to Chinese Tech Giant Tencent

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The former tech giant is sharing information from websites in the Safari browser with Tencent in China. This is affecting the relationship between China and the United States.

Apple is known for its overconcern for privacy, data safety, and human rights but Apple itself has accepted that Safari, which is Apple’s native browser, is sharing information from websites to Tencent. Tencent is closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party.

A report says that Safari shares over 50% of the market, making it the most popular default browser for the iPhones in the U.S. This is because even if iPhone users browse through third-party browsers, the web pages inside continue to open in the default Safari.

Apple shares some website information of users while browsing from the Safari browser. This is for the safety concern to prevent phishing activities. A news blog,  Reclaim the Net, recently shed light on this feature of Apple.

Apple has acknowledged that Safari shares information from websites to Google and Tencent. Apple stated that the sole purpose of sharing such information is to keep the user’s safety by keeping a check if the target website is a phishing scheme planned for fetching personal information of the user’s or not. 

This feature is called ‘Fraudulent Website Warning Feature’. iPhones with iOS 13 are pre-integrated with this feature. 

Apple explained the whole thing saying, “When Fraudulent Website Warning is enabled, Safari will display a warning if the website you are visiting is a suspected phishing website. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to steal your personal information, such as user names, passwords, and other account information. A fraudulent website masquerades as a legitimate one, such as a bank, a financial institution, or an email service provider. 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”.

This feature is absolutely in the favor of users and their online safety but sharing of such information with Chinese Tencent Company creates tension between China and the U.S. However, ‘Fraudulent Website Warning Feature’ can be disabled under the settings application of the iPhone. It is simple. Users just need to go to the settings menu > select the option of ‘Safari’ > And toggle off the switch corresponding to the option of ‘Fraudulent Website Warning’. By doing this, users can turn off this feature but then they will be vulnerable to fraudulent and phishing websites.

This is not the only instance where Apple is sharing information with Tencent. Earlier also such a decision was taken by Apple for the safe browsing on the iPhone. Safari in its privacy policy has given this disclaimer already in the beta version of iOS 12.2.

We will keep on updating further on the ‘Fraudulent Website Warning’ feature and what modifications Apple is planning in this safe browsing feature.

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