Apple’s New ‘Private Relay’ Feature Will Not Be Available in China

Apple
FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Apple Inc on Monday said a new “private relay” feature designed to obscure a user’s web browsing behavior from internet service providers and advertisers will not be available in China for regulatory reasons.

The feature was one of number of privacy protections Apple announced at its annual software developer conference on Monday.

It will also be unavailable in Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines, Apple said.

The “private relay” feature first sends web traffic to a server maintained by Apple, where it is stripped of a piece of information called an IP address. From there, Apple sends the traffic to a second server maintained by a third-party operator who assigns the user a temporary IP address and sends the traffic onward to its destination website. 

The use of an outside party in the second hop of the relay system is intentional, Apple said, to prevent even Apple from knowing both the user’s identity and what website the user is visiting. 

Apple has not yet disclosed which outside partners it will use in the system but said it plans to disclose them in the future. The feature likely will not become available to the public until later this year.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates; Reuters

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