iOS, the privacy OS

Discussion in 'iOS 12' started by canesalato, May 29, 2019.

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  1. canesalato, May 29, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019

    canesalato macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    I was reading a very interesting article from the Washington Post and wanted to share it and discuss it with the MacRumors community.

    Link to the full article:

    My opinion:
    I think that the findings are alarming and paint a very creepy world where no App is really trustworthy. Among those sending our private data to trackers, I was particularly surprised to see Yelp, which is an official partner of Apple for Maps. Translation: if you use Apple Maps to make a reservation, you are having your personal data tracked. Among the shared data: email, phone number, exact GPS position, app access, digital fingerprinting etc. A large amount of data is sent overnight, using the background update function of the OS, which appears to be particularly problematic. We are not talking about a few MB, the writer had 1.5GB of data consumed in what is basically spyware.
    A big thumb up to the writer, Geoffrey A. Fowler, for acknowledging that his own journal, the Washington Post, is tracking the users of its app. A true journalist.

    There is a common perception that Apple devices are safe, that if you use an Android phone, your data will be collected everywhere, but it seems that iPhones are not so different. Your data will be collected by everyone including, ironically, Google. I write this without implying any evil intent from Apple, except bragging about privacy in an add that is simply not true "What happens on your iPhone stays in your iPhone".
    Interesting, many of the limitations of iOS are said to be based on the need to protect privacy (sandboxing, no side-loading etc). While one could argue that malicious app developers call for even more restrictions, i think the solution is different and we are completely off.

    For my part, I think Apple should have a section, on their website, with a list of apps sharing personal data irresponsibly. They could even go further and have a pop up appearing the first time you open the app (similarly to how they did with 32bit apps during the 64bit transitions). Something like "In the past this app was found to been sharing personal data irresponsibly with third parties". If the app is still sharing, the pop-up could be more aggressive and appear every time, or once per week if every time gets too annoying. As consumer, we should expect better. In the current situation, what Apple says in the ad is just false.

    EDIT: i changed fingerprinting in digital fingerprinting. Thanks to NoBoMac for pointing out this.

    Attached Files:

  2. Yun0 macrumors 65816


    Jun 12, 2013
    Winnipeg, Canada
    And..? My DNS ad/track block list is having a buffet. Also Washingtonpost.. one of the news sites that full of filthy ads & data collection, then prevent you from using the site when you got an adblocker. Nothing a custom filter for their dirty script couldnt remedy..
  3. Banglazed macrumors demi-god


    Apr 17, 2017
    Cupertino, CA
    If you think that is creepy, wait till when 5G fully deploy and you will have your data sent instantly with real time tracking.
  4. canesalato thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Of course, I use a DNS-based blocker myself (and the article explains the advantages of using one). But most people do not, because they trust Apple, the App Store, etc. Also, have you fully read the article? Because the journalist calls out his own journal for these, the Washington post. Android users tend to be aware that their data is being shared, while Apple users trust their devices. The point of the article and my post is that this trust is misplaced.

    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2019 ---
    I think it's creepy and that the future is going to be even creepier.
  5. NoBoMac macrumors 68020

    Jul 1, 2014

    Miss reading the article. It's not your finger print, the article states "digital fingerprint". Location, device type, other device info. But not finger print. Even if "finger print" (highly unlikely as that is in Secure Enclave and no API has direct access to that), not a real finger print as that gets converted to a numerical representation (ala password encryption is one way mash up).

    You want a gizmo that has apps, connect to the internet, will NEVER have true anonymity.

    Can limit how much goes out there by limiting apps in use, deny access for apps to GPS, Contacts, etc. But even then, for example, wifi can also give up location information. Use only cash for any payments. Setup your own mail server (but even then, mail flows through servers around the planet, friends using commercial services...).

    Pretty much need to get off the grid if concerned.
  6. canesalato thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    You are right about the digital fingerprinting vs finger print. I will edit for clarity.

    On the second part of your message, I am aware of it and I agree with you, but that's not what Apple is promising. I think they could do much more to stand to their words, but, if they are unwilling to do so, maybe they should stop bragging about "everything that happens on your iPhone stays in your iPhone."
  7. icloudUser macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2019
    I removed the Weather App (from the weather channel) following a read of the background app refresh article. However, when I swipe down on the phone to search for weather the results are fetched from the weather channel app/service. It must be a webservice or something. Wonder what personal info iOS (Siri?) is sending to fetch me the weather data...And since there is no APP wonder if i can see who requested location data in this case
  8. I7guy macrumors Core


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    Apps can be sneaky under the covers. On the app store, the dev doesn't have to disclose all in the privacy section. IOS will keep your phone assets safe as you want them, but you can't monitor http traffic for compliance to the ToS.

    This is not really an IOS issue, this is a web wide issue. However, I believe apple is trying to tackle the issue of the apps not claiming all that they do.
  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
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