Apple’s setting up it’s own VPN service for the iCloud+, labelled Private Relay.
Apple has been swinging for the fences with security measures and updates ever since the iOS 14 was announced. With its acclaimed Tracking/Transparency features, iPhone users could finally choose to actively withhold any and all personal information from all applications. It’s a bold move against the likes of targeted advertisements, and grants users much of their online agency back. Even if the features were met with derision from the likes of Facebook, a company notorious for its data harvesting, the public perception was nothing short of golden.
Apple’s recently doubled down upon it’s privacy measures, as announced at the company’s annual WWDC conference. There, upon rebranding their premium iCloud service as iCloud+, a slew of new features were revealed as well. Chief amongst these was the Private Relay. Acting as Apple’s own VPN, the technology made it so that users surfing the internet via Safari could keep their browser history safe from prying eyes. However, there’s more to the cloud-based subscription as well. Two other features, namely “Hide My Email” and “HomeKit Secure Video” were delved into as part of the iCloud+ features.
Hide My Email allows users to generate and operate email IDs that can be handed out in lieu of the person’s own ID. For example, users may feel hesitant handing out their email ID to an online survey or even some brand outlet. In such cases, Hide My Email’s IDs will prove to be of use. Users can set up as many IDs as need be, and direct all the forwarded emails to their original ID for inspection. HomeKit Secure Video’s functionality is limited to the user’s security camera feeds. When linked up to an Apple product, iCloud+ will store all camera footage to the Secure Video feature. That means there’s extra space in the cloud for everything else.
As impressive as these features are, their impacted is slightly limited in certain countries. Take China, for example: a country that’s notorious for monitoring the online presence of its citizens. Since Private Relay acts as a VPN and encrypts your data, the feature will not be allowed in the country. Other such areas include Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines. Many of the listed countries have been accused for media and publication censorship, which puts their banning of the Apple VPN into a sort of maligned, dreary perspective.
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