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(Photo : Pixabay) Apple responds to reports that it is sending data to Chinese tech company Tencent through the Fraudulent Website Warning feature. The iPhone maker assured users it never shares URLs of websites they visit to safe browsing providers.

Apple faced scrutiny following reports it is sending web browsing data to a Chinese tech company. The company is now responding to these allegations.

Fraudulent Website Warning

Reports claimed that Apple's Safari browser has been sending data to Tencent as part of the Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that protects users from fraudulent websites.

Reports claimed that this makes browsing sessions less secure and even leaves users vulnerable to accessing dangerous websites.

Apple now refutes the reports that it is sending information from the Safari browser on iPhones and Macs to Tencent.

Apple Responds

The company claims that the reports were based on a recent discovery that it had implemented a second safe browsing system within Safari, which works by taking a URL a user is trying to access and checking this against a database of known bad sites.

Apple has been using Google's Safe Browsing API on its default browser to check for bad links but it added Tencent's safe browsing system earlier this year.

The "About Safari Search & Privacy" explained that before a user visits a website, Safari may send information to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the site is safe or not.

Fraudulent Website Warning Feature Can Be Turned Off

The update was apparently misinterpreted. Apple said that that Safari indeed uses a list of fraudulent websites compiled by Tencent to protect users, but only if the users themselves are based in China.

Apple explained who it uses the Fraudulent Website Warning feature for.

"Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent," Apple said in a statement as quoted by the website CultofMac. "The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off."

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