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Apple’s iCloud Private Relay feature not available in Belarus, China, Uganda, other countries

Apple’s upcoming iCloud Private Relay feature, which aims to conceal user web browsing habits, will be unavailable in a number of countries infamous for snooping on citizens and enacting harsh online censorship laws.

Introduced on Monday as a forthcoming iCloud+ feature, iCloud Private Relay incorporates internet relays to allow users to securely browse the web on Safari.

As noted by Reuters, however, Apple’s new service will not be available in Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines due to local regulations.

As detailed by Apple, iCloud Private Relay encrypts traffic leaving a device then routes requests through two relays “so that no one — including Apple — can use” or access a device’s IP address, location, and browsing activity. More specifically, web traffic is first sent to an Apple server and stripped of its IP address. It then travels to a second server maintained by a third-party operator, where a temporary IP address is assigned before being sent on to a final destination.

The feature is designed to obscure online browsing habits from internet service providers, ad servers and other entities looking to create profiles based on gathered user information. Apple claims even it cannot connect the dots between users and the visited websites.

Apple said it will disclose third-party server partners at a later date.

News of iCloud Private Relay’s international restrictions comes amid allegations from privacy advocates that claim Apple placates dictatorial governments in return for access to their burgeoning retail markets. China, which has in the past force the tech giant to cow to its cybersecurity laws, is often cited as an example of Apple’s supposed double-talk on consumer privacy.

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