Erik ReneSource: Rene Ritchie

What you need to know

  • Apple's head of privacy has given an interview for Data Privacy Day.
  • Erik Neuenschwander sat down with Rene Ritchie to discuss privacy across all of Apple's platforms.
  • He reiterated that Apple thinks of privacy as a "fundamental human right."

Apple's head of privacy Erik Neuenschwander has sat down with Rene Ritchie to give an interview on Data Privacy Day.

Neuenschwander and Ritchie discussed Apple's various privacy initiatives and specific features like Hide My Email and Mail Privacy Protection as featured in iCloud+ and on devices like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. Neuenschwander reiterated Apple's stance on privacy saying:

"We think about privacy being a fundamental human right, and how the only way that you're going to realize that is by designing it into everything that we build... we want great features and great privacy and I think we've shown time and time again across the years that we can deliver on that..."

He also discussed how Apple uses data minimization to reduce the amount of data collected on users in the first place, and how it tries to ensure that apps and services only use the data they need to function and nothing more, stating that avoiding data collection upfront was "a great way to be privacy-respecting to the user."

Neuenschwander's comments echo changes made by Apple in recent years to software and hardware, notably in iOS 14 with the addition of App Tracking Transparency. The feature means that users must opt-in to tracking using an IDFA number across apps and services, a tool previously used to target specific advertising on platforms like Facebook.

Apple's privacy stance came under fire in 2021 after the company announced a series of new Child Safety Measures that involved a controversial plan to scan the hashes of iCloud Photos against a database of existing Child Sexual Abuse Material. Apple took the decision to delay the plans last year and has not spoken about them since.