Apple’s privacy poster stunt at CES 2019 fresh on our minds – the company has dropped another reminder in the form of a video advertisement of its commitment to – you guessed it – privacy.
With the iCloud leaks and the FaceTime bug fresh on our minds, it’s easy to be dismissive when a tech giant postures waving the latest buzzword in your face. But not so fast – unlike many other smartphone manufacturers, Apple’s approach to privacy seems to be vastly different.
But first, let’s get it straight. Bugs and loopholes are an unfortunate but otherwise widespread occurrence for these tech developers and manufacturers – in fact, Skype’s Android application had just encountered a similar loophole where it would automatically pick up calls even if the user had not interacted with their devices – effectively allowing for eavesdropping.
The real difference between manufacturers would be their ethos – the track record and commitment displayed by these companies with regard to protecting your privacy. That’s a difficult proposition, with cloud services changing the way we interact with our devices – offering unparalleled intelligence at the expense of privacy.
Privacy is a very broad concern. Modern-age Luddites might keep all conceivable information walled from the internet, while others are fine with promises of encryption.
Apple’s newest ad, recently launched in Singapore, reinforces the company’s commitment to providing both privacy and intelligence. This is accomplished by keeping as much of the data processing on-device, where users keep ownership over their important information.
For the data that has to interface with the cloud, user identity is disassociated so that platforms and services can be enhanced. This anonymity is applied to Siri voice commands, news articles, search terms in browsers or other apps. Random identifiers, which are periodically reset, are used to disassociate users from their activity on Maps, Apple News and Siri. Different identifiers are also used for different applications for the same user to prevent a comprehensive profile from being built.
Apple has also implemented innovations like Intelligent Tracking Prevention and Differential Privacy to further ensure anonymity in all your data. When services require data to be processed on Apple’s servers in the cloud, users will be prompted and will have full control over where what goes.
With our electronic devices capturing more and more information about ourselves – communications, health and wellness, images and videos, along with financial data – encryption and security is paramount when it comes to the services and devices we purchase. Apple’s commitment to user privacy can be further explored here.