Apple’s iPhone data isn’t as anonymous as the company says: researchers
Mysk app developers say the analysis shows that the detailed analytics data Apple records about what users do in the App Store can be linked directly to accounts.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Mysk researchers said Apple’s analytics data includes a Directory Services Identifier (DSID), which uniquely identifies an iCloud account and is associated with the name, email, and any other iCloud-related data.
Mysk said the tech giant’s claims in its device analytics and privacy statement that the data collected does not personally identify users are “inaccurate” and that the App Store continues to send detailed analytics to Apple even when the ‘shared analysis is disabled.
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“This means that your detailed behavior when you browse apps in the App Store is sent to Apple and contains the identifier needed to link the data to you,” Mysk said, noting that other Apple apps also they send the DSID for analytical purposes.
Mysk said there was no way to stop it.
In its Analytics and Device Privacy statement, Apple says iPhone Analytics may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use devices and apps.
“None of the information collected personally identifies you. Personal data is not logged at all, is subject to privacy-preserving techniques such as differential privacy, or is removed from reports before it is sent to Apple” , he said. “You can review this information on your iOS device by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvements and tapping Analytics Data.”
Apple notes that if the user agrees to send analytics information to Apple from multiple devices using the same iCloud account, it may correlate some Apple app usage data on those devices by syncing using encryption from end to end.
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“We do this in a way that doesn’t identify you with Apple,” the statement said.
Users can also choose to turn off device analytics sharing entirely.
However, the App Store and Privacy Statement says that personal information is collected to improve the stores.
“To find ways to improve the stores, we use information about your browsing, purchases, searches and downloads. These records are stored with an IP address, a random unique identifier (where it arises) and an Apple ID when you sign in in the app Store or other online Apple stores,” Apple said.
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On that page, opting out of personalized ads is mentioned, but the “Improving Stores” section doesn’t mention settings that would allow users to prevent Apple from seeing personal information.
Fox News Digital’s request for comment from Apple was not returned.