Apple’s Fraudulent Website Feature in Safari for iOS uses Chinese firm Tencent as one of its Safe Browsing Providers. It comes at a time when Apple’s dealings with the Chinese authorities are under scrutiny over its removal of an app used by protestors in Hong Kong from the iOS app store. Tencent is known to have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party.
Tencent Safe Browsing May Log User IP Address
MacRumors noticed that Apple’s About Safari and Privacy note referred to sending information, including IP address, to Tencent. It said:
When Fradulent Website Warning is enabled, Safari will display a warning if the website you are visiting is a suspected phishing attack…. Before visiting a website Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudelent. These safe browsing providers may also log your IP address.
It was unclear at the time of this writing whether Tencent verified data from outside of China. However, I had the reference to the company on my iPhone XR running iOS 13.1.2.
It also appears to have been noticed on devices in the U.S. My Mac Mini running Catalina only referenced Google Safe Browsing.