Privacy has been a renewed focus with Apple's next operating system update. A new feature in iOS 13 that seems centered on users' privacy can have major consequences for messages and apps on the web.
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Apple has put privacy at the front and center of the business, especially as many technology companies are making headlines for data breaches or misuse of personal information. iOS 13 will include several updates centered on giving users more control over how and when apps can get their information, such as one-time sharing and an "Sign in with Apple" system.
VoIP services seem to remain running in the background so they can connect quickly, but they also allow the apps to gather information about what users are doing on their devices. Restricting applications that may simply be open at any time on mobile hardware fits the story Apple is making to be a trusted place for customer privacy in an increasingly unreliable industry.
The move will force many apps to make some major changes. Perhaps the most visible apps affected by the update will be Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp applications. Both of these apps allow users to make calls, and they run in the background of a smartphone so they can quickly make calls.
The information first reported on the story, and a Facebook representative said the company is in talks with Apple about this development:
The changes in the upcoming iOS releases are not insignificant, but we are in talks with Apple on how to can best address. To be clear – we use the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a private, world-class messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data.
Facebook may not have data collection as the explicit purpose of the VoIP programs, but that does not mean that the social network does not. The results for privacy issues are not good. Facebook incurred the Federal Trade Commission investigation, along with a $ 5 billion settlement and closer scrutiny, over allegations of misuse of user data. It also saved email address lists and collected email passwords from our users. And many people have anecdotal experience of seeing fake accurate or timely targeted ads when using Facebook services.
This will not be the first time Apple and Facebook lock horns over their privacy and customer protection approaches. Apple took drastic action against Facebook in January: Apple removed the social media certificate for its Enterprise Developer program after discovering that Facebook mistakenly used it to distribute apps that monitored user activity. And even that wasn't Facebook's first Apple infringement.
It is unclear whether Facebook's representatives believe they can convince Apple to reverse course completely, or whether they will look for a longer grace period to rework apps, or whether they have a different end goal. A total of 180 from Apple seems unlikely given its hawkish attitude to privacy, but we are closely watching to see if there is any additional reason for VoIP app developers.