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Apple… is it really for privacy?

By: James Azar

Apple is one of the worlds most trusted brands, but the question at large is if Apple really stands to protect its customers’ privacy? 

Apple has an entire webpage and about 14 other pages that discuss privacy on its website. 

Apple’s Privacy Statement reads: “At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. And so much of your personal information — information you have a right to keep private — lives on your Apple devices. Your heart rate after a run. Which news stories you read first. Where you bought your last coffee. What websites you visit. Who you call, email, or message? Every Apple product is designed from the ground up to protect that information. And to empower you to choose what you share and with whom. We’ve proved time and again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of your privacy and security. Instead, they can support them.

When we use data to create better experiences for you, we work hard to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise your privacy. One example is our pioneering use of Differential Privacy, where we scramble your data and combine it with the data of millions of others. So, we see general patterns, rather than specifics that could be traced back to you. These patterns help us identify things like the most popularemoji, the best QuickType suggestions, and energy consumption rates in Safari.”

This statement shows that Apple doesn’t collect information on apple servers. All information is stored on our personal Apple devices thus giving complete control through the various privacy settings they have available. This one key difference between Apple and Data Cartels like Google and Facebook, is that these two companies rely on gathering our data and selling it to advertisers. Apple openly admits that it freely collects information about what music we listen to, what movies, books and apps we download, which is "aggregated" and used to help Apple make recommendations. Apple says it doesn't share this information with outside companies, either and notes that it doesn't know the identity of the user. Unlike Facebook and Google, Apple does not make it easy to access the data they have collected from personal devices.

More news on Apple is that in June they announced iOS 13, which is changing the way app developers get our information. iOS 13 no longer requires us to use social media accounts or our email address to use the app but rather our Apple ID instead. Instead of handing over your email address to a developer or using a social account like Facebook or Google, you’ll soon be able to sign into apps with your Apple ID. Tapping the Sign in with Apple button authenticates with Face ID or Touch ID, and the feature creates a unique random ID that keeps developers from accessing your personal data. If the app developer asks for an email address, Sign in with Apple will also give you the option to generate a unique random email address that will keep your real email private. 

Apple seems to be going above and beyond for allowing us to keep our privacy. With how many customers trust Apple, many are now wondering if it is possible that they will eventually start selling privacy as a service?

For all privacy advocates, security professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists alike, the CyberHub Engage Podcast produces daily content on the latest news, trends, and technologies.