Apple will not launch feature to hide online identity in South Africa or China

Apple will not launch its new iCloud Private Relay service in South Africa for regulatory reasons, the company has told MyBroadband.

The exclusion was first noted by Reuters, which reported that Private Relay would not be available in a handful of countries —  Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines.

Private Relay is a new privacy feature from Apple that is included with premium iCloud subscriptions. It was announced during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference last night.

While using Apple’s own Safari web browser, Private Relay will encrypt all of your outgoing traffic so no-one besides you and the website you are visiting can read it.

Apple explained that all of your web requests will be sent through two separate Internet relays while using Private Relay.

The first assigns you with an anonymous IP address that maps to your region, but not your actual location.

The second relay decrypts the web address you want to visit and forwards you to their destination.

“This separation of information protects the user’s privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit,” Apple said.

Neither your Internet service provider, nor Apple itself will be able to link you to your browsing history.

Private Relay is expected to launch later this year and was one of a series of new features Apple announced on 7 June.

Others include Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email, which lets users protect the online identity linked to their email address.

Apple could not immediately indicate which regulations in South Africa prevented it from launching Private Relay here.

“We respect national laws wherever we operate,” Apple told MyBroadband.

Now read: iOS 15 announced — all the new features

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Apple will not launch feature to hide online identity in South Africa or China