Apple sued for tracking user activity even when disabled in settings

In recent years, Apple has turned its focus on user privacy. The iPhone maker has been sparring with other Big Tech companies, most notably Facebook owner Meta, on the matter. Apple’s Efforts To Protect Users’ Data Have Happened cost platforms like Facebook billions of dollars in revenue.

But it turns out that Apple itself collected user data, even if their customers had explicitly changed their settings to prevent the company from doing so. Now Apple is being sued.

App developers and security researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry from the software company Mysk recently found it that iOS sends “every tap you make” to Apple from one of the company’s own apps. According to the developers, attempts to disable this data collection, such as selecting the Settings option “disable sharing of Device Analytics altogether” had no effect on the sending of the data.

The data that is collected is also quite detailed. As Gizmodo points out that a user looking at the App Store app on their iPhone would have their search data, what they tapped on, and how long they checked out an app all sent to Apple in real time. Do you use Apple’s Stocks app? Apple receives a list of the user’s viewed stocks, all the articles they read in the app, and the names of all the stocks they searched for. The timestamps for which a user has viewed stock information are also sent. Some Apple apps even collect detailed information about the user’s iPhone, such as the model, screen resolution, and keyboard language.

Mysk conducted the test with a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 14.6. The team discovered similar iPhone activity with a non-jailbroken phone running iOS 16. However, due to encryption, Mysk was unable to determine exactly what data was being sent on the device with the latest operating system.

A class action lawsuit was: archived on Thursday claim Apple’s actions violate the California Invasion of Privacy Act. The lawsuit doesn’t focus so much on Apple collecting this data. The suit fine-tunes Apple’s settings, such as “Allow apps to request tracking” and “Share Analytics,” which give users the impression that they can disable such tracking.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that Apple, or any tech company for that matter, collects user data. However, as Mysk’s team discovered, Apple collects this data regardless of a user’s settings, giving them the option to disable data collection, potentially giving them a false sense of privacy.

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