July 14, 2024
AI

OpenAI and Apple Partnership Raises Privacy Concerns

In a shocking development, ChatGPT users on macOS recently discovered that their conversations were being stored in plain-text files. This marks a bumpy start to the partnership between Apple and OpenAI. Throughout the years, Apple has prided itself as a company that gives top priority to user privacy.

This discovery has shaken the community. This issue was highlighted by data engineer Pedro José Pereira Vieito, who pointed out the flaw on Meta’s Threads platform.

Source: Pedro José Pereira Vieito

Vulnerability and Privacy Issues

In May, ChatGPT was made available to subscribers only. By June 25, non-subscribers could also access it. However, the app stored chat logs in unencrypted plain-text files until July 5. This meant that anyone with access to a user’s computer could read every conversation held with ChatGPT. This vulnerability arose because OpenAI’s macOS app bypassed Apple’s sandboxing feature, which typically encrypts data to protect user privacy.

Community Reaction and Resolution

The tech community expressed shock at the discovery. For instance, a user on The Verge’s comments section recounted finding unencrypted chat logs in their computer’s memory using Activity Monitor. Although OpenAI has resolved the issue, questions remain about how this oversight occurred. It is presumed that OpenAI intended easy access to chat logs for development purposes, but the lack of encryption raises concerns about user data protection.

The incident has left many questioning why Apple did not intervene before the app’s release and why OpenAI failed to recognize the potential risk of generating unencrypted data on users’ machines.

Image from Wallpapers.com

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