Apple plans to restrict VoIP background data collection from WhatsApp, Snapchat et al in iOS 13: According to a new report from The Information, Apple plans is making a change to its platform that would, in turn, change the way social messaging apps implement the voice over internet protocol (VoIP). At present, the calling feature in these social messaging apps runs in the background even when it is not in use. This not only allows the apps to connect calls faster when users indeed use this feature, but it also allows them to “perform other, unrelated tasks such as collecting data.”
The change announced by Apple at WWDC 2019, is part of Apple’s continued privacy push, and it marks another punch in its ongoing feud with Facebook and other services that rely on data collection to make money. On the other hand, Facebook claims that it has never used the specific API for data collection. A company spokesperson told The Information, “To be clear, we are using the PushKit VoIP API to deliver a world-class, private messaging experience, not for the purpose of collecting data.”
Apple is positioning itself as a privacy-first company willing to actively go after practices it deems unethical, even if it means intensifying feuds with Silicon Valley rivals. For example, iOS 13 will have a new “Sign in with Apple” feature that will let users log in to apps and services without revealing an email address. It’s a direct competitor to the Sign in with Facebook button that has littered the web for years and allows Facebook to collect information on which third-party services its users log into.
At WWDC, Apple also shared that it would be tightening rules around enterprise certificates on its devices after a TechCrunch reported earlier this year found that Facebook was using the certificates to distribute VPN software that was siphoning user data in exchange for monthly rewards, which is a violation of Apple’s developer terms.