Apple has again found itself in the center of another dangerous storm in a China kettle, and this time, it is related to the company’s addition of a Chinese company’s safe browsing service inside the Safari web browser. The latest issue was revealed when Reclaim The Net released an article on October 10 that issued a warning upon discovering that Apple is sending IP addresses from users of the Safari browser on iOS. The data are reportedly sent to the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, which is perceived to have a close association with the Chinese Communist Party.

Apple China Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he attends a talk at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Oct. 23, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Apple always takes pride and positions itself as the champion of human rights and privacy, but the recent allegation appears to be contrary to what the company professes to the public. The Cupertino-based tech giant utilizes Tencent for its users located in China and Google everywhere else. The report revealed that the Safari feature has been sending data to Google Safe Browsing to cross-check URLs against a blacklist and also to protect users against phishing sites and scams that try to send malware.

But, it is not clear when Apple began sending iOS user data to Tencent. In iOS, the Cupertino-based tech titan notes that it sends some user IP addresses to the Chinese conglomerate, but most users are most likely not aware of this fact. This can be found in the About Safari & Privacy screen linked by a small text enclosed under the Privacy & Security portion in Settings in Safari.

Additionally, the Fraudulent Website Warning feature is enabled by default, so there is no way reluctant users would know that their IP addresses may be logged unless they check out the information screen. Apple’s reference to the Chinese conglomerate is found on devices running on iOS 13. However, some tweets claim that other versions like iOS 12.2 also included Tencent as a safe browsing provider. At the moment, it is hard to determine whether the date of Apple users located outside China are indeed sent to Tencent, but according to MacRumors, the Chinese company seems to be included on iPhones and iPads registered in the UK and the US, and most likely in other countries as well.