Apple's iOS 14.5 redirects Google Safe Browsing traffic to protect privacy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 11
Apple has confirmed that the new beta release of iOS 14 passes Google Safe Browsing requests through Apple's own servers to prevent user data being returned to Google.

Apple released a new build of iOS 14.5 Beta 1
Apple released a new build of iOS 14.5 Beta 1


Apple has previously reported that its Safari browser may use the Google Safe Browsing feature to determine if a website is fraudulent. From the forthcoming iOS 14.5 onwards, though, Apple will redirect Google Safe Browsing request through its own proxy servers, specifically to limit how much user data gets seen by Google.

According to The 8-Bit, before a user visits a website, Apple used to send an encoded version of the site's address to Google Safe Browsing. It's then compared to Google's ongoing list of fraudulent sites.

Now in the current beta release of iOS 14.5, though, Apple goes one step further. Under the previous system, Google could see the IP address of where the user was. Now Apple routes that user's request through its own servers to hide its origin and further protect privacy.

Maciej Stachowiak, Apple's head of WebKit, has confirmed The 8-Bit story in a tweet.

This article is a bit confused on the details of how Safe Browsing works, but in the new iOS beta, Safari does indeed proxy the service via Apple servers to limit the risk of information leak.https://t.co/TlDZNMO8do

-- othermaciej (@othermaciej)


The presence of a feature in a beta iOS release does not guarantee that it will ever be released publicly. However, it is most likely that having reached the stage of being beta tested by the public outside Apple, users will see the feature in the forthcoming iOS 14.5

While this specific redirecting of traffic to protect privacy is automatic, users can switch off Apple's whole fraudulent website warning system, if they need.
patchythepiratelolliver

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,466member
    Sounds good to me. First Adobe Flash dies, then Facebook's ad tracking is being attacked and finally Apple is going after Google. Hopefully by the end of 2021 the internet will be a lot safer for everyone. Fantasy world? Maybe, but we can always hope for a much safer and less intrusive internet.
    williamlondonpatchythepiratelolliverjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Getting the popcorn ready...
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Let the internet privacy wars begin! lol
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    This is a very welcome change. Thank you Apple!
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
  • Reply 6 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,322member
    applguy said:
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
    Ermagerd! They might have to resort to doing business the way it had been done for thousands of years prior to the invention of nonconsensual web-stalking!!! DOOOOOOOOOOMED
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    applguy said:
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
    I certainly hope so!

    Of course...  if your request passes through Apple and then to Google, Google no longer has the user data Apple does.
    Not sure I trust Apple.  :-| 
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I think that this is great... it removes one more internet component from being tracked or geocoded back to me. It reduces my surface area or exposed data, at least to web sites that Google's Safe Browsing feature has flagged as fraudulent. But at some point we need to ask:
    • who voted and appointed Google as the decider of which site is fraudulent and which is not?
    • who is keeping an eye on what happens to all that data accumulating on Apple's proxy servers?
    • what happens in 10 years time when there is new leadership at the helm at Apple with a different commitment to privacy?
    • while I do trust Apple's commitment to privacy... who appointed them to be the decider of who gets my data and who does not?
    gatorguy
  • Reply 9 of 12
    applguy said:
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
    This only applies to web sites that Google's Safe Browsing feature has already flagged as fraudulent. These are usually phishing sites, malware sites trying to infect your computer or clones of legitimate sites trying to trick you into divulging confidential information. Apple's measures are aimed at thwarting Google, not the fraudulent sites.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    applguy said:
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
    I certainly hope so!

    Of course...  if your request passes through Apple and then to Google, Google no longer has the user data Apple does.
    Not sure I trust Apple.  :-| 
    Uh...  Turn it off (as the article mentioned), if you don't want to use the feature.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    nicholfd said:
    applguy said:
    Is this the end of the free internet as we know it? If companies can’t sell user data their business model is going to have to change. 
    I certainly hope so!

    Of course...  if your request passes through Apple and then to Google, Google no longer has the user data Apple does.
    Not sure I trust Apple.  :-| 
    Uh...  Turn it off (as the article mentioned), if you don't want to use the feature.
    Perhaps I should have stated...
    Not sure I trust Apple, or Google, or Amazon, or any other big tech company!
    Not sure I trust the Federal Government, or the State Government, or any other governmental entity!
    Basically, I don't trust anybody with this sort of information.
    Better?
  • Reply 12 of 12
    OctoMonkey I don't trust anybody with this sort of information.

    There’s always the option of not using the internet at all.

    watto_cobra
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