MacDirectory Magazine

Lightstorm Entertainment

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Tiktok. Harmless Fun? Tiktok Talk With Patrick Wardle By TikTok. Harmless fun? Or existential threat to the United States? The answer you get depends on who you ask. This week we have a special guest to help us discuss the question in depth — and we'll get into the larger issues with apps, user data, and digital privacy. TikTok, apps, and your privacy In recent weeks, the popular video-sharing app TikTok has made headlines for its practice of monitoring iOS pasteboard data. The pasteboard — kind of a system-wide clipboard for iOS that lets apps access the information copied there — can contain all sorts of sensitive user data. In iOS 14, users are alerted whenever an app is accessing the pasteboard, and people trying out the iOS 14 beta started to notice a constant stream of these notifications whenever they were on TikTok. TikTok was also found to be checking iOS devices to see what other apps were installed. All of this resulted in a wave of negative press for TikTok, and even U.S. government officials began to weigh in on the matter. But soon after the issue with TikTok was discovered, it came out that many other apps were doing exactly the same thing! The developers behind those apps gave various explanations for their software's behavior, with LinkedIn even saying that the pasteboard access was happening accidentally. On this week 's Checklist, we asked security expert Patrick Wardle to share his insights on the TikTok story — and on app privacy issues generally. Wardle is Principal Security Researcher at Jamf, a leading Apple device management plat form for enterprise. He is also the developer behind the Objective -See suite of Mac security tools, and he writes an award-winning technical blog devoted to macOS security. In addition, Wardle is a prominent leader in the Mac security community, having founded the Objective by the Sea Mac security conference. We asked Wardle to start by telling us if he thought it was technically possible that some apps were reading the pasteboard "accidentally" — and if he could see any legitimate reasons why an app might be accessing the pasteboard.

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