Bite of the Forbidden Fruit: Apple’s Safari Privacy Blunder Unleashes Tracking Horrors on EU iPhones

In a twist of irony, Apple’s Safari in the EU has become the antitrust antithesis of privacy, with third-party app stores tracking users’ web footsteps. Cue the “privacy-focused” browser leaking data, despite Cupertino’s claims. #ApplePrivacyBlunder

Hot Take:

Oh, Apple, look at you making friends across the pond by turning European Safari users into unwilling stars of “The Truman Show: App Store Edition.” It’s like you’re trying to prove that the only thing more innovative than your tech is your ability to create privacy paradoxes. Way to turn “Private Browsing” into “Private? Browsing…”

Key Points:

  • Apple’s implementation of third-party app stores in the EU is as secure as a sieve holding water.
  • Third-party app stores can potentially track users’ web activities through a ‘marketplace-kit:’ URI scheme, even in private browsing mode.
  • Security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk highlight three major flaws in Apple’s system, including cross-site tracking and injection attack vulnerabilities.
  • Brave browser steps up as the privacy hero, validating origins to prevent tracking – because being Brave isn’t just a name, it’s a privacy commitment.
  • Apple’s half-baked privacy measures under European antitrust compliance may be more about tracking third-party store usage (and fees) than protecting users.

Need to know more?

If Privacy Is an Apple, They Just Found the Worm

Apple's grand entrance into the European antitrust party involved popping the privacy bubble of every Safari user by introducing a "marketplace-kit:" URI scheme that does the digital equivalent of a "follow me home." This is like inviting someone to a private event and then live-streaming their every move. The scheme is supposed to help with installing third-party app stores, but instead, it's installing a sense of betrayal.

Marketplace Mayhem: The Flaws That Keep on Giving

Developers Bakry and Mysk played Sherlock and Watson, uncovering Apple's little secret: a trio of security blunders that would make any privacy enthusiast's hair stand on end. First up, they're serving up your web activity on a silver platter with cross-site tracking. Next, they offer a side of injection attacks, thanks to a little JWT token negligence. And for dessert, a lack of certificate pinning leaves you open to some serious MITM meddling. It's like Apple's security measures went on vacation, and all we got was this lousy privacy breach.

Brave New World of Browser Privacy

Enter Brave, the knight in shining armor, with its commitment to checking website origins like a bouncer at an exclusive club. They've set a standard for how to handle third-party app store requests without turning users into walking, talking ad targets. It's like Brave actually read the "How to Respect Privacy" memo that Apple left in the junk drawer.

Apple's Compliance: A Privacy Comedy of Errors

Apple's approach to complying with the European Union's rules is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. They've essentially taken their security concerns and amplified them into a privacy nightmare, all under the guise of accommodating new antitrust laws. It's a classic tale of doing the right thing, in the most wrong way possible.

The Question of Capability and Interest

While Apple's been busy asking if alternative marketplaces have the ability and desire to protect users, it seems they forgot to look in the mirror. It's like a lifeguard questioning if anyone else can swim while they're the ones letting sharks in the pool. The question now is, does Apple have the capability and interest to protect its users, or is it more interested in tracking every app store download for its ledger?

In a world where privacy is as precious as an uncracked iPhone screen, it's a bit alarming to see Apple playing fast and loose with user data. But in the end, maybe Apple's strategy is to redefine privacy - not as a right, but as a setting that's subject to interpretation, or perhaps, convenience. Stay tuned for the next episode of "As the Apple Turns."

Tags: Apple privacy concerns, cross-site tracking risks, Digital Markets Act compliance, European Union antitrust, iOS 17.4 flaws, Safari browser vulnerabilities, Third-Party App Stores