Apple may be sending the IP addresses of users of its Internet browser Safari on iPhones to the Chinese tech giant Tencent, discovered the website focused on internet freedom Reclaim the Net.

The possible sending of IP addresses is in the 'Report fraudulent websites' function, with which Apple checks information about websites to warn users about phishing.

This protective layer uses a technique called Safe Browsing. With this, the webpage is analyzed to find out whether a page presents itself as a legitimate page, for example from a bank or e-mail provider, to capture user data.

Safari's privacy settings state that Apple "sends information from the web address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check whether the website is fraudulent. These Safe Browsing providers may also register your IP address".

It is unclear which users fall under "possible". Apple does not yet give much details about what the division with Tencent entails.