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Apple’s ‘privacy’ claims facing challenges over iPhones’ data tracking practices

Apple says it does not collect information that identifies users personally.

Apple iPhone data privacy
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Apple says it prioritizes the data privacy of its users and over the years, the company has curated a reputation as a privacy stalwart. And because of this, Apple gadgets have been a popular choice among people who care about their data privacy. However, a recent finding reveals the company collects users’ data from iPhones even when the data tracking has been turned off. Two iOS developers and researchers have found that iPhones send the same analytics data to Apple whether the user grants permission or declines it.

Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry, in their report that they have shared on Twitter, explained that Apple continues to collect data across a number of its first-party apps like App Store and Apple Music, even when users had turned off an iPhone Analytics setting that promises to “disable the sharing of Device Analytics altogether.” Mysk revealed that disabling data tracking as well as privacy settings did not impact Apple’s own apps. Apple tracks users’ actions like what app users tapped on, what they searched, and what ads they saw, through iPhone’s App Store using what is called the ‘Directory Services Identifier’ or DSLD, which is associated with a user’s name, email, and any data linked to the iCloud account.

“This means that your detailed behavior when browsing apps on the App Store is sent to Apple, and contains the ID needed to link the data to you, ” Mysk said in one of the tweets.

One of the researchers, Mysk pointed out “Knowing the DSID is like knowing your name. It’s one-to-one to your identity.” On the other hand, Apple claims the data collected by the company is anonymous. Tech giants’ own Device Analytics and Privacy forum say that Apple does not collect information that identifies you personally. Mysk further demonstrates that this assurance of anonymity is false, by capturing the data sent to the company and comparing it to that used to identify an iCloud user by their Apple ID.

Following the findings, Apple is facing a new lawsuit against its data collection practices. Plaintiff Elliot Libman is suing the company alleging that Apple’s privacy assurances are in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The lawsuit alleges that tech giants’ assurances and promises regarding privacy are “utterly false,” pointing out that the data collection was out of line with standard industry practices.

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