IOS apps are using iPhones background app refresh feature to send personal info to data tracking companies

Apple is a company that has earned itself a good name by championing the cause of privacy. The iPhone maker has even taken a pot shot at privacy offenders saying, What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone. This would make its iPhones the most privacy friendly smartphones on the planet.

But a privacy experiment carried out by The Washington Post suggests based on the  experiement carried out by tech columnist Geoffery A Fowler, a number of iOS apps send personal information to tracking companies when the background refresh feature on the iPhones is turned on. He also found out that most of these apps communicate this data when the data transmission is likley to lost least interference in the working of the device.

Fowler, as per the report, teamed up with a privacy company Disconnect, which hooked his iPhone to a special software so that they would examine the flow of data to and from his iPhone. What they discovered upon investigation would startle you.

In a week, his iPhone fed nearly 5,400 data trackers most of which were hidden inside apps. In a month, those unwanted data trackers transmitted nearly 1.5GB data to the data tracking firms, which is practically more than half of the data plan subscribed by a lot of people. The iPhone apps that were passing information along to third parties included apps such as Microsoft OneDrive, Spotify, IBM's the Weather Channel, Nike, The Washington Post and Intuit's Mint.

All of this is deeply concerning, but what is equally concerning is the fact that there is no way of determining which apps are tracking us, what are they doing with our data and for how long are they storing our data.

Apple, as the report notes, does offer a setting, Limit Ad Tracking which makes it a bit difficult for data tracking companies to track you across apps using a unique identifier. However, with the amount of time that we spent using various apps, the amount of data thus generated and Apple turning a blind eye to what companies do with the generated data or the data that we provide them with, data tracking companies have ample information to keep the data supply chain going.

Apple's response to all of this is pretty standard. 

An Apple spokesperson told The Washington Post, at Apple we do a great deal to help users keep their data private, Apple hardware and software are designed to provide advanced security and privacy at every level of the system.

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