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Apple iPhone data isn’t as anonymous as company claims: researcher

The app developer at Mysk claims that the analysis shows that the detailed analytics data Apple records about users’ actions in the App Store can be linked directly to accounts.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Mysk researchers said Apple’s analytics data includes a Directory Service Identifier (DSID), which uniquely identifies an iCloud account and is associated with name, email, and any other iCloud-related data .

Mysk said the tech giant’s claim in its device analytics and privacy statement that the data it collects doesn’t personally identify users is “inaccurate,” and that the App Store continues to send detailed analytics to Apple even when shared analytics is turned off.


This inset photo shows the Apple App Store logo reflected from an iPhone on the back of an iMac on August 26, 2021 in Los Angeles.
(Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

“This means that details of your behavior as you browse apps on the App Store are sent to Apple and include the ID needed to link the data to you,” Mysk said, noting that other Apple apps also send DSIDs for analytics purposes. Purpose.

Mysk said there was no way to stop it.

In its Device Analytics and Privacy Statement, Apple states that iPhone Analytics may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your device and apps.

Customers experience new iPhone 14 series smartphones at Apple Inc’s flagship store in Shanghai, China, October 13, 2022.
(CFOTO/Getty Images for future publication)

“None of the information collected will personally identify you. Personal data is either not recorded at all, employs privacy-preserving techniques such as differential privacy, or is removed from any reporting before being sent to Apple,” it said. “You can view this information on your iOS device by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvement and tapping Analytics Data.”

Apple notes that if a user agrees to send analytics information to Apple from multiple devices using the same iCloud account, it may correlate some usage data about Apple apps on those devices by syncing using end-to-end encryption.

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“We’re doing this in a way that doesn’t allow Apple to identify you,” the statement said.

Users can also choose to disable the sharing of device analytics entirely.

This illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021 shows the App Store icon displayed on a mobile phone screen.
(Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto Photo illustration via Getty Images)

However, the App Store and Privacy Statement states that personal information is collected to improve the store.

“To find ways to improve the Store, we use information about your browsing, purchases, searches, and downloads. These records are stored with the Store along with IP addresses, random unique identifiers (where they appear) and the Apple ID you log into the app with or other Apple online stores,” Apple said.

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On that page, it mentions turning off personalized ads, but the “Improving the Store” section doesn’t mention a setting that would allow users to prevent Apple from seeing personal information.

Fox News Digital’s request for comment from Apple was not returned.

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