The only path left for them was to say they were all about user privacy. If Apple had succeeded wildly in any of those three spaces, I think they'd be caught up like Google, Facebook et al.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing for the tech ecosystem, but I do think it was lucky positioning on their part.
Interested to hear opposing opinion on this.
>Advertisers Not Thrilled With Apple’s Practice Of Protecting Its Users’ Data... rather than offering a cookie-based ad-tracking and targeting mechanism, it essentially requires partners to tell it what kind of audience it needs to reach, and then trust that Apple will handle the rest
Ping was intended to integrate with Facebook, but Jobs canceled that integration at the last second, citing “onerous terms that we could not agree to”. It's uncertain if those terms were privacy related.
For all of the other companies mentioned: data was basically their only asset and business model, and they were started 25+ years after Apple.
(Edit for grammar)
Google and FB sell ads and their products are built around better selling ads. Privacy is counterintuitive to their business model. Apple and even Microsoft can and should focus on privacy because their business models won’t be impacted as much. They can strengthen their relationships with customers who buy into their ecosystems.
Android is the oddball for google and I don’t know enough to comment about privacy.
That doesn't seem like a less sustainable model, it seems better in the longer term. As the hardware market is saturating Apple has a harder time selling newer phones (turn up the marketing machine), but Google can still sell personalised ads.
In other words, to me it seems reasonable to think that they affirmatively chose a strategy that has worked out for them--not that their strategy was forced upon them by their shortcomings.
I would also quibble with your characterization that there is some difference between the ad, email, or a social network worlds. Google and Facebook are ad companies--look at their revenue. Apple is not.
I will say that I don't think Steve Jobs set out 18 years ago to turn Apple into a privacy company. I think it's reasonable to say that Apple concentrated on products and services, and discovered privacy as a differentiating strategy along the way.
But it's just as true to say that Google and Facebook discovered data-driven advertising along the way too. Both projects started out without a business model at all.
I don't think anyone was stating this. Merely that their ventures into spaces that typically would be privacy-hostile didn't work out for them anywhere near as well as it did for Google and Facebook.
OP's point seems to be saying something more along the lines that perhaps those particular failures helped them decide to stay (or become) more privacy-focused.
The other big bet is that something might happen to convince users that privacy is good. We'll see how that plays out - users aren't particularly bothered by Facebook revelations as their DAUs attest. Kids are growing up with microphones in their bedrooms (Amazon echo dot for kids) so privacy will be a deeply erodes concept ~15 years from now (if it isn't already).
And CEOs and leadership teams come and go. If the only thing making a company respect your privacy is the principles of the CEO, and especially if that respect for privacy is bad for the company’s bottom line, then you can bet that CEO is going to have a change of heart after a board meeting or is going to get fired as soon as there’s a bad quarter.
From Scroogled to "telemetry" collecting user keyboard input in 4 years.
Additionally, he has also stated many times to make sure to inform users when an action involving privacy is about to take place "repeatedly and in plain English". Though I am not sure how much of this hardline stance on privacy still exist within Apple today.
But to be fair I think Steve Jobs was pretty interested in privacy and put some of that philosophy in the company. So they were already pursuing privacy goals but there would be these conflicts of interest that they would eventually have to resolve.
Luckily they continued to suck at social networking and many online things. It works better for them to double down on privacy.
Grasping and purely conjecture obviously, just putting it out there.
Note that I do not fully agree with the parent.
I find that comforting. In fact, if I was a large organization and processed a ton of user data, I'd want to store that data anonymously too, due to the sheer risk of having that personal data.
Edit: I once worked with an ex-googler who told me to always store all the data you have because you never know what you can use it for, you can't get it back if you change your mind and storage is cheap. Hard to argue with this if it's "just" about competitive advantage and monetization.
Here's the flip side: You can't lose data to a breach that you don't store. You can't have a rogue employee crow on social media about how they have access to data you don't store. You can't be liable for GDPR violations about PII you don't store.
Data is certainly an asset, but it's also a huge liability - and laws are starting to catch up in order to enforce how big of a liability it really is.
That means NO storage, not even "anonymous". (which Apple clearly does)
> You can't have a rogue employee crow on social media about how they have access to data you don't store.
Requires NO storage, which they clearly do.
> You can't be liable for GDPR violations about PII you don't store.
If you store it "anonymous" you can, since the only requirement for it is to be personal data and there is zero change it can't lead to the person and anyone working with those 'unique' identifiers can tell you they most likely aren't that anonymous and the data can be used to trace a single person.
There's a difference between storing only the data required for conducting your business, and storing all the data you possibly can for some imaginary future use. I'm suggesting the former is a better practice.
> If you store it "anonymous" you can
Anonymity via random-but-unique IDs is a tenuous protection at best when storing everything you possibly can. Take, for example, the fact that with a gender, a zip code, and a birthday, you can be uniquely identified with around 85% accuracy . None of those are traditionally considered to be PII, and it's pretty likely that these are the kinds of things stored "anonymously" by the "store it all for later" kinds of companies.
Your conclusion doesn't follow from your premise.
Once a user navigates to a specific PF Chang's from a specific location, the navigation app can suggest an alternate route that takes into account traffic, regardless of whether that user has a history or not.
In your scenario, the history of the user data would not affect the ability of the app to suggest routes that are less trafficked.
EDIT: change adverb in last sentence
(Ex. 2 years from now, when Apple gets into the restaurant business, they might want to analyze what users (user ids) search for what types/distances of restaurants.
For a company like Google that may have a reasonable need to store a lot of stuff (multiple versions of the web corpus, Gmail, drive), it may be cheap to also store search queries forever and who knows what else. For a company without an intrinsic need to store large data for long periods, it's not cheap to add.
Collecting information you don't plan to use and don't know how you will use is likely to mean when you do use it, you didn't collect it in a suitable fashion, so you may not be able to use it anyway. In the meantime it's a privacy liability with no value.
And WRT differential privacy, if enough data is captured and associated with a single identifier, then it's sufficient to get a pretty good idea what the user actually does. That's the point of differential privacy in the first place, since it indicates that a statistically meaningful amount of the data is valid.
For example, if my user id has five visits out of 1000 DP recorded visits to google.com, it's unlikely that I actually visited google.com. However, if there are 200 recorded visits, it can be safely said that yeah, I intentionally visit google.com.
Id't be better if they just didn't store an ID with the data.
> Siri and Dictation do not associate this information with your Apple ID, but rather with your device through a random identifier. Apple Watch uses the Siri identifier from your iPhone. You can reset that identifier at any time by turning Siri and Dictation off and back on, effectively restarting your relationship with Siri and Dictation.
So it looks like it keeps the same ID until you turn Siri off; if you turn Siri back on, you'll have a new ID.
> According to Wired, which reported on the story back in 2013, the data is shipped off to Apple's data farm for analysis, where it generates a random number that represents both the user and voice file. Six months later, Apple "disassociates" the user number from the clip, thereby deleting the number. The files are then stored for an additional 18 months, all for the sake of testing and product improvement.
Their agreement allows them to collect tons of data but there is no transparency on what they have and no ability to remove or download.
The Google one also has all your devices in one place with what apps and permissions you have granted. Exactly what I would like for my Apple devices.
I can't find it... I started at icloud.com which sent me to appleid.apple.com which sent me to apple.com/privacy/ and I never found a data download link.
The only eyeopening part would be the fact, that Apple doesn't store much about it's users, which isn't verifiable.
Also unique identifiers are not the only way to link data. And due to differential privacy the guarantees that the data cannot be linked decays over time (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15224312)
Also, why would they risk lying? What's in it for them?
Depending on your threat model in regards to your privacy the assurances made by Apple may be enough.
To me, it doesn't really matter. As long as I have no proof or control over how my data is being processed, it's better to just assume the worst case and practice data minimisation.
That's neither obvious nor true. Absence of evidence is more likely if there really is an absence of whatever; thus it is in fact evidence of absence, if only weak evidence.
How is this eye opening?
It is surprising though for the company not to lie about this given the shenanigans that many large companies engage in.
It's also eye opening in the context of a comparison against the other FAANG companies in question.
But you’re only one of 300 million in the states and 7 billion on the planet
And it’s USA Today, mainstream news. Maybe it’s not targeting someone with nothing better to do than memorize Apples policies
> It kept a copy of every app and song I'd downloaded, every tune I'd added to my iTunes music library, and every time I needed repair on a multitude of Apple devices going back a decade.
Is this surprising in any way? If you buy something (or "buy" it for free on the App Store) of course the company you buy it from keeps records of that.
I don't think it's a problem, but they could not tie it to your identity. After all, when you buy something with cash, the company might keep a record of the purchase, but it's not (or at least not always) tied to you.
It need not; for example it doesn't need historical data that have been superseded; if it no longer has an app available for download it could purge the fact that you bought it; it could give purchasers an anonymized download key that their phone could store (or cache in icloud someplace).
Yes, I know plenty of online companies do routinely spy on users but I see no reason to consider this "of course". This is admittedly creeping into meatspace (there's absolutely no legitimate reason for causing things like automatic toll tags or driving licenses to supply privacy-busting data to third parties, but on the other hand plenty of sandwich shops manage to have "frequent diner" programs that are simply a card the customer carries which is punched each time a sandwich is purchased. There is no reason why an online business shouldn't do the same -- and GDPR should drive businesses to do so. It's in the customer's interest.
For budgeting purposes I’ve tried to find a full list of my iTunes purchase, and couldn’t find it in the store. Didn’t think to look in privacy.