Apple Device Analytics Contain Identifying iCloud User Data, Claim Security Researchers
A new analysis has claimed that Apple's device analytics contain information that can directly link information about how a device is used, its performance, features, and more, directly to a specific user, despite Apple's claims otherwise.
On Twitter, security researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry have found that Apple's device analytics data includes an ID called "dsId," which stands for Directory Services Identifier. The analysis found that the dsId identifier is unique to every iCloud account and can be linked directly to a specific user, including their name, date of birth, email, and associated information stored on iCloud.
🚨 New Findings:
Apple’s analytics data include an ID called “dsId”. We were able to verify that “dsId” is the “Directory Services Identifier”, an ID that uniquely identifies an iCloud account. Meaning, Apple’s analytics can personally identify you 👇 pic.twitter.com/3DSUFwX3nV — Mysk 🇨🇦🇩🇪 (@mysk_co) November 21, 2022
On Apple's device analytics and privacy legal page, the company says no information collected from a device for analytics purposes is traceable back to a specific user. "iPhone Analytics may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your devices and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally," the company claims.
In one possible differentiator, Apple says that if a user agrees to send analytics information from multiple devices logged onto the same iCloud account, it may "correlate some usage data about Apple apps across those devices by syncing using end-to-end encryption." Even in doing so, however, Apple says the user remains unidentifiable to Apple. We've reached out to Apple for comment.
Apple has historically taken a hard stance on user privacy, repeatedly claiming it believes privacy is a "fundamental human right." Apple's privacy claims have been under increasing scrutiny in recent months, with the company now facing a class action lawsuit accusing it of tracking users without their consent.