Apple grabs its chance to tell users about push notification privacy

Posted:
in iPhone

A senator's open letter making it public that iPhone push notifications can be used to track users has let Apple publish a warning about the topic.

You can control what push notifications you see, but you can't stop governments using them for survelillance
You can control what push notifications you see, but you can't stop governments using them for survelillance



On Wednesday, Senator Wyden made a seemingly wild accusation that governments could use push notifications on iPhones and Android to spy on people. Apple immediately revealed that not only is this true, but also that the government had mandated that it not be revealed.

As well as publicly backing Wyden's call for both it and Google to be allowed to inform users of push notification issues, Apple has now added a warning to its "Legal Process Guidelines" document on the Apple website.

"When users allow an application they have installed to receive push notifications, an Apple Push Notification Service (APNs) token is generated and registered to that developer and device," says Apple under the new heading, "Apple Push Notification Service (APNs)."

"Some apps may have multiple APNs tokens for one account on one device to differentiate between messages and multi-media," it continues. "The Apple ID associated with a registered APNs token may be obtained with a subpoena or greater legal process."

It's still not known how common it is for requests for push notification data to be made by governments.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Yeah this is a terrible look for Apple, Google, governments and human rights. You mean to tell me that all of our data can be easily handed over with a subpoena even on iPhone? I thought privacy and security were supposed to be baked into their operating system? Fascinating reason to find alternatives to both google and Apple.
    darkvadergrandact73
  • Reply 2 of 5
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,239member
    user1 said:
    Yeah this is a terrible look for Apple, Google, governments and human rights. You mean to tell me that all of our data can be easily handed over with a subpoena even on iPhone? I thought privacy and security were supposed to be baked into their operating system? Fascinating reason to find alternatives to both google and Apple.
    You should probably try reading the article again, only this time with your “Reading Comprehension” glasses on.

    This is about one aspect of security that users sign up for — push notifications — and that Apple has only limited control over. The US government (and other governments) can intercept and read those, and prevent the companies from informing you of this.

    So no, not “all our data” can be handed over surreptitiously. Privacy and security ARE baked into Apple’s iOS, but a few things can be compromised by governments that go through a legal process to obtain a subpoena or court order owing to suspicion of illegal activity.

    Look at what Apple has done once it was free to reveal this practice, versus what Google has done or said (effectively, nothing). Look at Apple’s Legal Process Guidelines (link in the article, ffs) to educate yourself about your rights versus the government’s duty to protect the innocent and prosecute criminals, since you clearly have never done so.

    Or fashion yourself a tinfoil hat and go Amish. Your choice!
    edited December 2023 ForumPostwatto_cobratophatnosocksjony0
  • Reply 3 of 5
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,109member
    chasm said:

    Look at what Apple has done once it was free to reveal this practice, versus what Google has done or said (effectively, nothing). Look at Apple’s Legal Process Guidelines (link in the article, ffs) to educate yourself about your rights versus the government’s duty to protect the innocent and prosecute criminals, since you clearly have never done so.

    Before making statements you think should be accepted as facts, you should have looked. They aren't. Like with the Senator, now that you've brought it up:

    "Google, meanwhile, said in a statement that it was "the first major company to publish a public transparency report sharing the number and types of government requests for user data we receive, including the requests referred to by Sen. Wyden".

    "For U.S. requests of push notifications and other non-content information, Google said it requires a court order that is subject to judicial oversight, not just a subpoena. With such orders, federal officials must persuade a judge that the requested data is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal probe."

    In comparison, Apple may comply with the subpoena without requiring a court order according to the Apple Legal Process Guidelines you pointed to.
    edited December 2023 muthuk_vanalingamctt_zhkelliejony0
  • Reply 4 of 5
    gatorguy said:

    Before making statements you think should be accepted as facts, you should have looked. They aren't. Like with the Senator, now that you've brought it up:

    "Google, meanwhile, said in a statement that it was "the first major company to publish a public transparency report sharing the number and types of government requests for user data we receive, including the requests referred to by Sen. Wyden".

    Both Google & Apple posted as soon as seeing the senator make it public. You falling for Google adding "We were the first" in their posting, is what's really funny here!  



  • Reply 5 of 5
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,109member
    gatorguy said:

    Before making statements you think should be accepted as facts, you should have looked. They aren't. Like with the Senator, now that you've brought it up:

    "Google, meanwhile, said in a statement that it was "the first major company to publish a public transparency report sharing the number and types of government requests for user data we receive, including the requests referred to by Sen. Wyden".

    Both Google & Apple posted as soon as seeing the senator make it public. You falling for Google adding "We were the first" in their posting, is what's really funny here!  



    The OP claimed Google had said nothing, and only Apple was being transparent. So that's actually what was funny here. 

    Beginning in 2010...
    https://transparencyreport.google.com/about?hl=en
    Apple followed three years later. 

    Google's statement was an accurate one. 
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