Apple's 'privacy czars' to put limits on customer data collection

While Apple has often been outspoken on matters of privacy, particularly in recent years, a new report delves into some of the lengths the company goes to in order to protect customer data. Apple utilizes a three-person committee, known as the "privacy czars" internally, to examine any potential collection of customer data in products such as Siri and even Apple Music.

From Reuters:

Following a popular philosophy in Silicon Valley known as "privacy by design," product managers start collaborating early with the privacy engineering and legal teams, former Apple employees said. For complicated matters, the privacy taskforce steers the issue to a senior vice president, and particularly sensitive questions may rise to Cook.

Key principles include keeping customer data on their devices - rather than in the cloud, on Apple servers - and isolating various types of data so they cannot be united to form profiles of customers.

The group comes from a diverse collection of departments across the company. Jane Hovarth is a lawyer who often speaks for Apple's board in these matters, while Guy Tribble is the company's vice president of software technology. Finally there's Erik Neuenschwander, Apple's head of product security. The team's efforts are not without controversy within the company, and their limiting of customer data collection is apparently had a big role in the decision to close the iAd App Network.

Apple's commitment to user privacy is once again back in the spotlight as it argues with the U.S. government over encryption. At this week's iPhone SE introduction, CEO Tim Cook said that the company would not back down from what it feels is its responsibility to protect customer data.