Apple prides itself on giving users complete control over their privacy on iPhones and iPads. One of the company’s larger ad campaigns advocates for the security of user data within iOS. However, if the claims in a new lawsuit are true, then Apple is not making good on its claims about respecting user privacy.
The lawsuit, which was filed by New York resident Elliot Libman, alleges that Apple continues to track user data in standard iPhone apps. (Stock apps are the applications that come installed on an iPhone by default, such as Maps, the App Store, and more.) Essentially, the lawsuit alleges options that let users prevent their phones from sharing device analytics data, prevent apps from tracking data, and more are pointless, at least as far as the pre-installed apps are concerned.
The suit is based on recent claims made by Mysk security researchers. The researchers argue that users’ privacy options do nothing to prevent Apple from tracking usage in stock apps. In other words, Apple ignores users’ preference for privacy when it comes to stock apps and tracks every tap or scroll, how long users look at what’s on their screen, and other relevant data to identify unique users with fingerprints.
According to the filing, even if users follow Apple’s own privacy setting guidelines, “Apple will nevertheless continue to record consumers’ app usage, app browsing communications, and personal information in its own Apple apps, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV, Books and Stocks.”
While this news is alarming, it is currently just a claim. The researchers have provided some evidence, but their claims have not been corroborated by other security experts or analysts. The lawsuit is still in its early stages, so it’s up to a judge to determine whether or not the claims are valid and whether or not Apple has violated privacy laws in its practices.
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I’ve been a computer nerd all my life. After graduating with a degree in math, I worked in finance and banking for a few years before getting a job as a database administrator. I started Notebookcheck in October 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I’ve also written for other outlets, including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest are the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux and innovative gadgets. When I’m not writing electronics or tinkering with a device, I’m either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.