Apple may not be the pro-privacy company it so proudly claims to be.
A new study shows that the tech giant is collecting data about its customers while they use its apps, even when they’ve turned off analytics sharing.
The discovery was made by two developers who discovered that the tech giant is recording your every move in its own pre-installed App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks apps.
These apps were found to send Apple requests that include what apps a user was looking at, including those related to sexual preferences and religion, what stocks they were looking at and what ads they were seeing.
The data collection also includes the ID number and the type of device used, which is enough to fingerprint the device.
The study comes just over a year after Apple released its controversial privacy control that required iPhone users to give permission for apps to track their activity for advertising purposes, cutting into revenue from many companies and developers that relied on advertising.
It’s not clear why Apple is backtracking on its pro-privacy stance, but it recently added ads to the App Store app, and the data collection could be a way to better understand how its ads work.
The independent study was conducted by a pair of software developers who found that Apple records all your movements in its native apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks
The Apple Device & Privacy support page states that it must have user consent to collect such information from devices.
“None of the information collected personally identifies you,” the page states.
“Personal information is either not logged at all, is subject to privacy protection technologies such as differential privacy, or is removed from all reports before being sent to Apple.”
DailyMail.com has contacted Apple for comment.
Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry, the security researchers who exposed the data collection, posted videos on Twitter showing how the information is stored by Apple.
However, the team notes in a video about their study that “the behavior for iOS 16 will likely be the same.” The video shows a screen with several requests, all time-stamped, being sent to Apple from the App Store app
The data in a single request shows that Apple collects ID numbers that can identify the user
This was only found in iOS 14.6 – “It’s unclear if Apple is still collecting analytics data in iOS 16,” the team shared in a tweet posted on their company account, Musk.
However, the team notes in a video about their study that “the behavior for iOS 16 will likely be the same.”
The video shows a screen with several requests, all time-stamped, being sent to Apple from the App Store app.
The requests are every time the user was in the App Store app.
Within a single request are edited IDs that can identify the session and map it to the user’s data profile.
Also hidden in the collection of data is the user’s device being used.
The example shown in the video shows that the person is using an “iPhone 10”.
Also hidden in the collection of data is the user’s device being used. The example shown in the video shows the person using an “iPhone 10”
The query also shows that the user looked at the Daily Themed Crossword Puzzles app when searching the App Store and how long they looked at it
The video also shows that the user looked at the Daily Themed Crossword Puzzles app while searching the App Store and how long they looked at it.
While a crossword app might sound innocuous, Gizmodo provides a more serious reason why Apple’s data collection shouldn’t be ignored.
If you search for mental health, sexual orientation and religious apps in the App Store, this data is sent directly to the tech giant’s servers and stored – some of this may be sensitive information for some people.
The researchers conducted similar tests with the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge apps and found that when analytic sharing is disabled, the apps cannot collect data from the device.
Not only is collecting data without consent a serious problem, but Apple positions itself as a company that respects its users’ privacy.
Apple launched the privacy controls feature in 2021, which CEO Tim Cook said gives people back the power to decide which companies and developers can track them — but it seems Apple is standing by its own values
On its privacy page, the tech giant clearly shares: “Privacy is a basic human right. It’s also one of our core values. That’s why we design our products and services to protect them. That’s the kind of innovation we believe in.
The findings also suggest that Apple is more of a “do as I say, not as I do” type of company, as its privacy controls penalized many companies and developers for collecting similar data about users.
The check appeared as a full-screen notification asking users if they consent to being tracked “across apps and websites owned by other companies.”
These ads largely paid the bills for Facebook and other app makers, publishers and small businesses.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly defended the update, which was part of Apple’s iOS14 operating system, saying it was necessary because targeted advertising “manipulates” people and is served to their devices without their express permission.
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