It seems that Blizzard Entertainment is not the only company suspected of supporting Chinese interests. Apple happens to be embroiled in a similar issue as a source uncovered some questionable activities that could compromise personal data.

The gaming industry witnessed first-hand how being accused of prioritising ties with China, above all else can cause a massive backlash from the community. However, the Cupertino-based firm reassures its users with an explanation of what is really happening.

The issue appears to be related to the first-party web browser on devices running on the iOS platform. According to tests, Apple is purportedly gathering IP addresses via the Safari browser and forwarding the data to Tencent, a Chinese multinational firm with subsidiaries in various markets. What's alarming about the practice is the Shenzen-based conglomerate's alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party, reports Forbes.

I wrote a blog about how Safe Browsing works and how Apple switching to Tencent might affect users.

— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) October 13, 2019

After the findings, researchers are apprehensive about Apple's decision to collect information from its consumers. It is apparently allowing Google and Tencent access to check IP addresses with the latter affecting users in China or those whose region code is set to the Asian country.

Moreover, third-party browsers are not a solution since the operating system still launches the apps via Safari View, which is still capable of flagging the data in question. As it stands right now, there is no concrete evidence of anything sensitive being shared, but the possibility still exists, which is concerning for a lot of people.

Wow. This is a hell of a find…@Apple @webkit You guys care to explain what the monkeys is going on here? Why is anything from Safari being sent silently to Tencent - let alone with an identifier like an IP address…?

Also @daringfireball this may be newsworthy.

— Denis Kugappi (@dkugappi) October 13, 2019

In the meantime, individuals who have disabled safe browsing on their iOS devices run a risk of exposure to other threats. The way it works is when the feature is activated, every time somebody browses the internet, Safari cross-checks the IP address with a list of malicious websites. Google provides the service to all other users, while those in China, or with Chinese region settings get it from Tencent. Apple claims the URL of the website in question is never included.

why safari sending ip address to China Tencent #apple #iPhone #chinazi

— vlfrees_qer (@vlfrees) October 14, 2019

With the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong regarding China's extradition bill, the world is wary of the country's influences elsewhere. A recent article from Boing Boing even documents a time when Apple instructed showrunners it commissioned for its streaming service, to steer away from anything that portrays China in a bad way.

The Apple logo is seen on the building of an Apple store in Beijing on January 4, 2019. (Photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)