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Understanding Apple and privacy

Last week Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, once again reiterated the company's belief that people have a right to privacy and security, and that the cost of free-as-in-paid-for-by-your-data services isn't always clearly understood. Those for who believe the conversation about privacy and security is the most important of our generation appreciated someone as powerful and influential as Cook giving it the spotlight it deserves. Those who believe the advancement of technology requires the relinquishing of previously held beliefs about privacy and security, however, reacted harshly. The problem is, many of them also reacted in a way that's just plain wrong.

It's vital to understand that privacy and security, while often mentioned together, are not one and the same. Privacy demands security, but security does not demand privacy. Historically, privacy has often been violated in the name of security.

It's equally vital to understand that everything has a cost. That cost can be in money, or it can be in time, data or attention. Apple products tend to cost money. That's easy to understand. Building something from scratch tends to cost time, which is also easy to understand. Giving up data and attention is different. There's no cash leaving a wallet, or a clock ticking away to show us the value of the time we're spending. Maybe if we were forced to watch all our emails and phone numbers and URLs and credit card numbers scroll by as we "spent" them it would be more apparent. But the way it is now, humans are really good at mortgaging our future security for our present convenience, and data and attention often seem like no price at all.

Here's a study from the Annenberg School of Communications about how marketers are misrepresenting consumers and opening us up to exploitation:

A majority of Americans are resigned to giving up their data — and that is why many appear to be engaging in tradeoffs. Resignation occurs when a person believes an undesirable outcome is inevitable and feels powerless to stop it. Rather than feeling able to make choices, Americans believe it is futile to manage what companies can learn about them. Our study reveals that more than half do not want to lose control over their information but also believe this loss of control has already happened.By misrepresenting the American people and championing the tradeoff argument, marketers give policymakers false justifications for allowing the collection and use of all kinds of consumer data often in ways that the public find objectionable. Moreover, the futility we found, combined with a broad public fear about what companies can do with the data, portends serious difficulties not just for individuals but also — over time — for the institution of consumer commerce.

This debate isn't just raging over Facebook and Google either. How many people are aware that unless location is disabled Instagram can make it trivial for someone to find where you live? Or that Uber wants to start tracking you even when you're not using the company's app, or that PayPal wants to opt you into spam and telemarketing whether you like it or not.

The truth is you can have incredibly good, incredibly powerful services that also are completely secure and maintain our privacy is every way that matters. If a service is missing features or is buggy, that has nothing to do with privacy or security. That has to do with it missing features and being buggy.

If someone says Apple is buggy because of privacy and security, they're technically wrong. If someone says Apple won't be competitive in the future because of privacy and security, they're conceptually wrong. Privacy and security aren't a limitation. They're a foundation.

Look at handoff. For years cloud companies have synced data. Draft an email on one device, and it would near-instantly be saved to drafts on every other device logged into the same account. Last year Apple did one better — they synced activity. Draft an email on one device, and the email client on every other device within reach would populate with that same email, in that same state.

With data sync, if you wanted to switch devices, you'd have to go get the other device, find the requisite app, navigate to the proper folder, open the email, and then scroll to where you left off. With handoff, you'd just pick up the device, swipe/click, authenticate if needed, and keep on typing.

The truth is, you can have incredibly good, incredibly powerful services that are also completely secure and maintain our privacy is every way that matters.

Because you have to be within reach (Bluetooth range), you don't have to worry about someone at work accessing the email you're drafting at home, or someone on one side of the house snooping on the web page you're browsing on the other side.

It's private, it's secure, and conceptually it's better than what the data-centric companies had offered. It also doesn't require that activity be sent to and stored on someone else's servers.

By contrast, when I first got my Nexus 5 and it asked if I wanted to use Google Now, I said "yes." Then it asked for permission to track my web history, and I said "no." At that point it told me I couldn't use Google Now. Which is BS. I could easily use everything about Google Now that doesn't require my web history, which is an incredible amount. But Google wants that data so, at least back then, it was all or nothing.

That's where I see the difference. Apple could provide similar services where if I declined to allow access to any specific data, it would happily exclude that data and provide me whatever it still could based on on whatever I was comfortable sharing.

What's more, just like fingerprints and credit cards never leave the hardware, any data I deem strictly private could stay on the device but still be accessed on that device.

Apple has, in the past, been extremely reluctant to keep and operate on customer data on the company's servers. Yet because Apple understands the concept of "nearline," where local and online data can co-exist within the same service, they could apply that concept to customer data as well.

If I don't want to go to the cloud, the cloud can come to me.

If I don't want to share something with Apple's servers but it's on my phone, they don't have to bring me to the cloud. They can bring the cloud to me. If I don't want to share my web history, they can calculate the result on the cloud, then check my local device for matches right before displaying it on the screen.

None of this interferes with "machine learning." Apple already asks for permission to do just that with Siri and Maps and other services today, and they can ask to do it with future services tomorrow. They can just do it in a way that respects privacy and security, and with a business model that's funded by me directly, not by a third party because of me.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently said this to the New York Times:

Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private.

Some people were recently irked that they'd have to buy new bridges or hubs for home automation, thanks to Apple's requirement for end-to-end encryption in HomeKit. I was irked my bridges and hubs weren't end-to-end encrypted from the start.

Now, thanks to Apple's stand on privacy and security, they will be. And I can't help but hope that thanks to Apple's stand on privacy and security in general, all services from all companies will be under immense pressure to be more private and secure as well.

And that benefits everyone.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

125 Comments
  • Well said. Very well said. I'm one of few that gets it. The haters that don't get it will be here shortly to spew their lack of understanding any moment now...
  • It's not about haters, it's about having all the facts straight - and Rene doesn't. The "haters" don't either, don't get me wrong. The facts lie somewhere in the middle. Rene has some good points, but is also blinded by his Apple love. The haters have some good points, but are blinded by their Apple (or Rene-bias) hate. Just one small example - Rene quotes Snowden to reinforce the importance of encryption, yet ignores the fact that Snowden also made it quite clear he would never use an iPhone. Rene's belief that Apple's reason for privacy is solely an altruistic push blinds him. Is there some altruism behind it? Maybe. It's mostly a marketing ploy, more than anything else. If privacy & security are truly that big of a concern for Apple, then they're still falling short as well.
  • A+ to you, my friend.
  • Agreed. We have had enough of these articles that I emailed Phil on AC. I think Rene and Phil need to have a podcast on this issue...or better yet...we need to have an entire Mobile Nations Podcast to discuss this issue from all angles and platforms as this keeps coming up here, but this issue really needs to have fair representation of all platforms and issues discussed across the board in a SCHOLARLY, adult manner. This issue really should not just be posted alone on one Mobile Nations blog and I feel it would make a great topic for a podcast for the entire crew. Who else is with me on this idea?
  • 100%
  • Won't happen. Rene wouldn't have total control to censor the contents. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • If Rene's boss orders all blogs to make a podcast on this topic together, he will. I also emailed Derek Kessler, the managing editor of all of Mobile Nations. If he says they are going to do a podcast together on this topic, everyone has to participate. You cannot tell your superior no. This has been a long time coming and it is time that ALL of Mobile Nations talk about this together instead of one section of MN spread FUD about the others in a vacuum without chance for rebuttal or correction of false information. Derek please make this happen!
  • Unfortunately these articles get too many clicks, so his bosses likely don't care. That's the way of MN recently I'm afraid.
  • I think you're a bit confused. Rene is the heart and soul of iMore. He answers to Kevin, not Derek although who really cares or knows. Regardless, they're all laughing at you. Do you honestly believe any of them care about what you (or I) have to say? This column, like others, has served its purpose. It got you, me, and others to click on it. I'm not saying Rene couldn't be replaced, but they'd have a hard time doing it. He's written much better and is definitely capable of better. I don't really have the desire to know enough about this to comment on it. I don't really use google services other than gmail for personal and search. I doubt anyone else at Mobile Nations does either. If you truly want to get into this subject, I think it's beyond the scope here. I use iphone because you have the best of all worlds on it. Whether that's google, MS, amazon, and of course, it's the only way to use Apple's own services. I think iMore should leave alone WHICH services you should use or WHY and just focus more on iOS and Apple's services. Mainly because none of them have enough experience to really tell you which or why. His opinions about Samsung are irrelevant because he's hardly an expert on Samsung, and has too much Apple bias to be taken seriously. I'd leave it alone and focus on Apple, but that's just me. That said, it really doesn't matter what you or I think. They don't care. This isn't exactly the New York Times. It's a "free" blog whose sole purpose is to get you to click on ads, links, or buy from its online store. As Peter would say, how would you like your refund?
  • Snowden doesn't use any smart phone in general, iPhones is not exclusive and it is likely a mandated requirement for carrier approvals. All smartphones have firmware that can be activated to collect information. Recall the scandel a few years ago where the firmware doesn't delete the information about locations. He only mentioned iPhone because someone ask him if he would use it. Nobody asked him if he would use any smart phone. His lawyer said he only uses a dumb phone.
  • Actually Edward Snowden just praised Apple for pushing for mandatory encryption and increased privacy. "Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. " Op-Ed on NYT
  • Oh I know - Rene quotes that in the article a couple of times. But that's my point. Even then, Snowden isn't going to be using an iPhone or any smartphone. The problem isn't that Apple does a little more than competitors to make things private - and I could argue all day that it's really just a little bit more given the granular controls that Google gives you over everything. The problem is Apple (and Rene) are pushing privacy and security on a product that is inherently not private and not secure, and doing it with this altruistic "umbrella". If they're really preaching / pushing the altruistic side of this, then Apple falls just as short as the rest of them - and I'd argue possibly even more because they're the ones using this "umbrella" of altruism. It's borderline hypocritical. Whether you agree or not about the future, I thought this article hit the nail on the head pretty good: https://stratechery.com/2015/tim-cooks-unfair-and-unrealistic-privacy-sp...
  • "yet ignores the fact that Snowden also made it quite clear he would never use an iPhone" Snowden never said that... Some say, that his lawyer said, that Snowden said, that he would never have an iPhone, because something, something stupid... Not good enough for it be a fact. Doesn't matter how much clickbait and Apple haters tries to bring that up "It's mostly a marketing ploy, more than anything else." Yes, it's a marketing ploy to bring Google down, because in Google's land, everything has the best price: free, but they in turn amass all that information to make better and better statistics about you, and to drive more traffic throughout their servers, traffic enough, to compete with Tier1 ISP's.
  • We could argue all day about the "fact" of his use of an iPhone - it was widely reported and sourced, so feel free to question that all day to make your point. It would make perfect sense if he didn't, despite recently praising their encryption. That's not my point. Apple also mines your data to make the iOS experience better - and better for marketers (iAd? Itunes?). I'm not saying they do it to the extent Google does - obviously they don't. My point is Apple is potentially shooting themselves in the foot and being borderline hypocritical. They're the grey pot calling the kettle black. Honestly I don't have a huge problem with them doing this - like you said, it's a marketing attack directly going after Google's business model. What I do have a problem with is people like Rene treating it as if Apple is some sort of "don't be evil", solely altruistic-motivated company.
  • You really need to work out those facts, before criticizing someone for not having the facts straight. It was widely re-shared by people who want to make a quick buck with anything with "Apple" or "iPhone" in the title. Welcome to the real world of journalism where anyone can write anything they want, and it's up to you to criticize. I don't care what you say, and it's going to stay that way, specially with your anti-Apple bias. No, Apple doesn't do data mining, do you even know what data mining is? Data mining is extracting facts from unstructured data like e-mail, browsing history, photos, etc.. There's no way that Apple does that, Apple doesn't have access to gobs of unencrypted that like Google. Apple's iCloud data is always encrypted before reaching Apple's servers. Your "shot" with iAd or iTunes, is plain ridiculous, all data is provided by you, like location and date of birth, so no, Apple isn't data mining anyone for anything. No, this not a shot in the foot, it's a thing that will fruit in the long term, when people see this for what it is. Thing's simple: Google is amassing an huge amount of data, while controlling the media... see this article? Search Google and what you'll see is first the Anti-Apple articles, then the more obtuse articles, then articles like this. Also, Google is publicizing a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory image for themselves, and people like you, believe in this s*** that "Google is not evil", which we shall see... because they sooner or later will have to start using their data for more lucrative services.
  • Well you made one point I agree with 150% - the state of today's "journalism". :) Again, whether or not Snowden really said that or not is irrelevant - that wasn't my point, as I stated clearly before. And you're coming at me assuming I have anti-Apple bias and Google love, then throwing "strawman" arguments back at me. Please check yourself before telling me to get my facts straight and then assuming so much about me in your comment. I own an iPhone 6 and we use our Apple TV like crazy. I love Apple products. I also love unbiased and fact based journalism - something rare these days. Your comment alone shows your over-bias... "I don't care what you say..."; "There's no way that Apple does that..."; "Is controlling the media..." (take off your anti-Google tinfoil hat please); "People like you...". I mean, c'mon, if you're going to criticize me for not having my facts straight, please don't assume so much. You threw out a lot of baseless assumptions there. I don't believe for one second that Google is not evil - quite the contrary actually. My question to you is, do YOU believe "Apple is not evil", because that's sure what it sounds like.
  • Love is blind lol Posted via S6 Edge
  • "Posted via S6 Edge" LOL No, it's facts.
  • "do YOU believe "Apple is not evil"" I don't belive, I have read the TOS of both services, I understand that if Apple fails to comply with their message, all the trust they have earned (from consumers to governments like the Chinese), fails with it, and so goes the company. Simply Apple needs to make a difference, Apple needs to make something better. And, I believe that part of it, is privacy.
  • Can't the same be said of Google if their TOS are not upheld - or any other company that houses user data for that matter? And why does Apple need to make a difference and make something better any more than Google or, again, any other company?
  • You are arguing with a follower. You're wasting your time on facts outside of apple world, lol Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I am sorry, but after reading Apple's ToS and reading your statement, you are very naive and gullible. If they were more transparent that would be one thing, but their privacy statements and ToS appear to give them just as much right to your info as any other technology company like them.
  • Wow, I mean Jeez.
    Where do I start??
    Apple doesn’t have access to gobs of…………Apple has the same access as everybody else. They can buy data just like everybody else if they choose, and I bet they choose. Are you trying to tell me that the Apple marketing machine doesn’t do research, that they don’t use analytics like other companies do, to see where the market is going?
    I bet they have some affiliate somewhere under a different name that buys data probably from Google. Yes, I’m serious.
    I’d put money on it, Apple will be making use of market research that involves using some data mined by other companies to better sell their products. On top of this they analyse your data, (lets not forget that when you get your phone/Mac privacy isn’t the default option - you have to turn all that off yourself and it’s not all in the privacy section which doesn’t even exist on a Mac), but this they keep to themselves. The best of both worlds for them.
  • Wait, if Apple's iCloud is always encrypted before reaching the servers, how was it so easy for hackers to obtain celebrity photos?
  • Because there were plenty of brainless Hollywood starlets with weak passwords. No amount of encryption can prevent someone getting into your account if your password is 1234567. There was an interview with one of the starlets whose pictures were published who commented on not knowing what that iCloud "thingie" was all about.
  • No but brute force protection on accounts CAN prevent people from accessing accounts they don't own. After a certain number of failed attempts, lots of competing web services lock the account. Apple did not implement that type of protection until AFTER The Fappening occurred. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • the insecurity is strong in this one.
  • You’ve not substantiated ANYTHING in your post at all. I’ll point out a ‘slight' inaccuracy. “such as encryption are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple”…
    I have never had a single Mac, nor do I know anybody else that has had Filevault turned on out of the box, none. Do you?
  • haha and tnt4 starts with no further adue Sent from the iMore App
  • "Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, " Sorry, I buy the product but don't the constant 'cooked up' apple sauce. BlackBerry is historic in their security and privacy yet Apple is "pioneering "? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • [deleted]
  • You seem to be really bothered by it...
  • Hey serious question....if you want to bring up the Nexus 5 and Google Now, and do not like the fact that Google Now cannot function properly giving you suggestions, appointments, traffic, etc, based on data from other Google services you are sign up for or location tracking, why do you not just disable it and instead use another default search app instead? Cortana is coming soon to Android (and iOS), Duck Duck Go has a search app for Android which you can set as your default (and from what I have seen you seem to like), and Sound Hound announced a fantastic assistant the other day called Hound which looks better than Siri, Now, and Cortana based on the demos we have seen. I know you have lately been up in arms about competing services and privacy, but are you ever going to acknowledge, at least when you want to bring up Android in these articles, that YOU CAN TURN OFF WHATEVER SERVICES YOU WANT OR DISABLE THEM (even Google's) and you can set your own default apps on Android with whatever you like. Most of us that like Android (just giving some perspective from an outsider) is that if we do not like a certain service or privacy actions of one, we can replace one app with another and set it as a default (for instance, some do not like Google Maps nearly as much as Waze and instead have set it as the default app). Isn't empowering the consumer with the ability to make THEIR OWN choices on what default experience they have a GOOD THING? I know this is of course an Apple blog, but it really feels like you want to bring up competition, but do not want to mention that some of them offer you choice and you are not completely screwed into a system if you do not want it because of privacy concerns. You can make your experience what you want it to.
  • You're right
  • But Rene was wrong about Google Now. Google Now worked without your web history.
  • The really great, "personal assistant" features on there, just like Cortana, though, do require access to your personal Google services history and data though or information with Cortana that you provide her with and usage history. My counter to it was, though, if you do not like a service or app on Android, you can make another app that you like better with security and privacy features the default app and you can disable Google services or whatever. Giving up my data in return for great services and personal assistant type features is something I WILLINGLY am allowing them to have as they have transparency on what they do with my data and I have nothing to hide nor do I mind targeted ads (I block ads anyways so win win for me). This issue all boils down to two things: transparency on what is done with data to power these services and two, the user having a CHOICE. Thankfully, Android is finally adopting the permissions structure iOS has had for sometime (I give kudos to Apple at least on having their app permissions set up this way long before now) and Android M will allow me to grant apps certain permissions on a case by case basis. Not all or nothing like it has been.
  • Why would you bring a rational thought to an article like this? You're obviously unaware that even if you turn off those services on your Android device, Google is still tracking you in secret and handing over your personal info to advertisers. /s
  • Privacy and security are big reasons I use the iPhone. And the apps. Oh yeah!!
  • Apple collected data to,the things is Apple don't sell ads and when you install a apps in apple store each apps have privacy policy and some apps collected data from you just saying.
  • Apple does sell ads: iAds.
  • Are iADs tied to recent searches like on Google?
  • Would you rather see ads for things you might actually be interested in though, or just total garbage? For many it's a happy tradeoff. Sent from the iMore App
  • Ho yes but you can opt out like Google service Sent from the iMore App
  • LOL! Go too the bottom and read my long comment and also, once you download non Apple apps, you loose security very fast. You can enable or disable app permissions on IOS if I'm not mistaken. Will let's say that you have a camera app on your phone and every time you use this camera, it syncs the pictures back to a server. The developer for one can easily see those pictures on the server plus the developer could gain access to the device from the camera app since the permission is active. That's just the camera let alone so just imagine even more of the possibilities with more permissions being active. So having apps made by others on your device just further messes up your security and makes it worse.
  • Most camera apps that allow backups, though, ask the user first if they want to activate automatic cloud backups (like Dropbox or OneDrive). Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I know that and that make's the security worse if your backing everything up with a cloud. If you're not backing everything up to the cloud, your security is going to be better.
  • Not sure if I agree with the Google Now comparison made here. As an Android user. Google now is an absolute game-changer, but if you want a mobile assistant that is aware of what you do, what you're interested in, and what you may want to see next, you have to share what you do, what you're interested in, and what you might want to see next. If you don't want to share that, you can't use it. Turn it off, and find another app/service. Simple. Similarly, as an iOS user, Apply Pay is a game-changer, but if I don't want to share my credit card and other financial information, I can't use it. Privacy is a choice/compromise you have to make no matter what device or service you want to use. It's not specific to one company.
  • Share your financial information with who? You're not sharing it with Apple and your credit card company or bank already has all that info.
  • You could make the argument that by making credit card and banking transactions easier, Apple is helping banks track you more efficiently. Remember, Apple could have done mobile payments years earlier, but they waited until they could make money off it by partnering with large banks.
  • And why do I care that my credit card company or bank are "tracking" me? As far as I know Wells Fargo and Visa aren't sending my purchasing data to 3rd parties to spam me with advertising.
  • Visa is... http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21615871-everything-people-...
  • Wrong. Apple Pay is unique to your phone. It's the most private method besides coins and banknotes. Your credit card details are not shared with Apple or anyone. The merchant also doesn't get the real credit card number.
  • The merchant does not get your info on Google Wallet either. It uses Host Card Emulation and Tokens. It actually started using that method for mobile payments in 2013 in the fall, about a year before Apple Pay was even a thing. He was wrong to say Apple Pay shared payment info, but before you jump to it, I wanted to point out Google was doing this with Wallet for a year before Apple said "we are finally jumping on mobile payments, too!"
  • I keep reading these articles which hint and imply all sorts of things, generally leaving it up to the readers imagination to fill the gaps with their own fears and misinformation. What I don't see are the actual, real world consequences of letting marketers pay cash for my Google services in exchange for me seeing ads which are actually relevant to me? What are some of the worst case scenarios that might actually affect me? Sent from the iMore App
  • You could die...
  • I am guessing that was an attempt to troll or be funny?
  • Not really, no. There are many places in this world where at this very moment the mere hint of a possibility of you thinking something not exactly in line with the doctrine du jour can get you beaten up, imprisoned or outright killed. That doctrine may be religion, politics, greed or whatever. I'm assuming I don't have to go into arguing religion and politics. In the case of greed it's a small step from marketeers just wanting all the information they can collect about you (ordinary commerce), to marketeers thinking they should have the right to that information and nobody should be able to stop them getting it (mob rule). I agree with Ronald Reagan, when in 1961 he said:
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." This of course does not only apply to the USA, but to any society that momentarily considers itself to have freedom.
  • You do realize that Apple's privacy policy and ToS statements say they have the right to share information with advertisers as well as affiliate companies, right? What most of us are getting at here is Apple is advocating privacy and security, but based on their ToS and Privacy Statements, they are doing the same things they are slamming Google and others for despite what Rene is trying to convince everyone that they DON'T do. Basically, they are hypocrites using fear mongering and finger pointing as a marketing tactic to bring doubt about competing hardware, operating systems, and services. In the past they made claims of a crappy or laggy OS or poorly built hardware, etc. They have changed tactics to fear mongering and making people question their own safety and identity using a competing product.
  • Agreed. I do not see ads ever (I use AdBlock in Chrome), but if I see ads, I would rather have targeted ads for things that might actually be of interest to me than random crap, so either way I have not really been affected (so far).
  • "What are some of the worst case scenarios that might actually affect me?" Well, imagine if I were an insurer or a bank or a HR recruiter? Having access to, not your photos and all your data, but accurate statistics about you? That "it's just for ads" is a fallacy
  • Nice job fear-mongering there. HR departments for potential employers have access to what is available on Google Search via public information (you likely have access to that same information on Duck Duck Go or Bing as well) and whatever info you post on Google+ that is NOT listed as private. But HR departments for employers do not have access to metadata on what you do on Google. And Google's photos service, by the way, automatically stores photos as private. They are not shared until you manually choose which pictures to share. And what accurate statistics does Google give away from it's users to anyone that asks? Again stuff from a Google Search (like any search engine) is based on publicly available information, but your statement is completely full of FUD and just plain inaccurate. I suggest you read their privacy policy and learn more about how they use your data (meta data from your history using Google services is used by an algorithm to select targeted ads in a database of ads on pages that Google has ad space to ensure a stronger chance of buying and getting repeat customers buying ad space, but the do not sell their info to third parties.) Like your other posts in this discussion, it is nothing but full of holes. Read up some more.
  • Google reserves the right to create new services. You are talking about today, I'm talking about tomorrow. Simple as that.
  • Apple could do the same. You're hypothesizing... Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • That's exactly the point. Apple can't make the same, because they have our files encrypted, and the TOS you signed for iCloud doesn't allow them to do that.
  • Read their privacy statement again:
    You are not required to provide the personal information that we have requested, but, if you chose not to do so, in many cases we will not be able to provide you with our products or services or respond to any queries you may have." **********
    Here are some examples of the types of personal information Apple may collect and how we may use it:
    What personal information we collect
    When you create an Apple ID, apply for commercial credit, purchase a product, download a software update, register for a class at an Apple Retail Store, contact us or participate in an online survey, we may collect a variety of information, including your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, contact preferences, and credit card information.
    When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to participate in Apple services or forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Apple will use such information to fulfill your requests, provide the relevant product or service, or for anti-fraud purposes.
    In the U.S., we may ask for a government issued ID in limited circumstances including when setting up a wireless account and activating your device, for the purpose of extending commercial credit, managing reservations, or as required by law.
    How we use your personal information
    The personal information we collect allows us to keep you posted on Apple’s latest product announcements, software updates, and upcoming events. If you don’t want to be on our mailing list, you can opt out anytime by updating your preferences.
    We also use personal information to help us create, develop, operate, deliver, and improve our products, services, content and advertising, and for loss prevention and anti-fraud purposes.
    We may use your personal information, including date of birth, to verify identity, assist with identification of users, and to determine appropriate services. For example, we may use date of birth to determine the age of Apple ID account holders.
    From time to time, we may use your personal information to send important notices, such as communications about purchases and changes to our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Apple, you may not opt out of receiving these communications.
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    If you enter into a sweepstake, contest, or similar promotion we may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
    ******** "Collection and Use of Non-Personal Information
    We also collect data in a form that does not, on its own, permit direct association with any specific individual. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose. The following are some examples of non-personal information that we collect and how we may use it:
    We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, referrer URL, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising.
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  • OK so you want to argue hypotheticals that haven't happened yet?! 0_o
  • And how would said insurer, bank, or HR recruiter get that info and link it to you?
  • EXACTLY!
  • Antman770: the entire point of Apple Pay is that you **aren't** sharing your credit card. Apple doesn't have your credit card (well, not through Apple Pay anyway -- if you added it to your iTunes account then they do). An Apple Pay transaction does not send your financial data to anybody except your bank (and they of course know your cc #), which then issues an approval token. Apple does not get that information, the merchant doesn't get that information. Your financial data and CC # are encrypted and locally stored, and even though the data *is* transmitted to your bank or issuer, its both scrambled and encrypted. Bottom line: you're wrong. As for the piece overall, I like a number of the points made but not understanding that everything Google does -- EVERYTHING -- goes to support their advertising (96 percent of their income) and build a profile of you, is just naive. Few people understand the extent of the data collected about you by Google, Facebook and any other company that offers free services in exchange for ads, and most would be VERY uncomfortable if they knew. I'm not suggesting you put on a tinfoil hat and hide in a cave, but Internet users as a whole need to reward companies that promote privacy (like Apple) and stop rewarding companies that trade in more information than we've explicitly given them permission to have. We're on the cusp of raising a generation that has no idea what privacy even is, or how it relates to security.
  • But I don't think Google is building a "profile" of me or trading information. It's my understanding that they use algorithms internally to target ads at an anonymous token (me). I don't think marketers see that information. People read these articles and get the impression that there's a folder somewhere at Google with your name on it, and that Google is selling it to anyone willing to pay. I don't think that's even remotely accurate. I'm surprised at Tim cook. If I was a pessimIst, I'd say that he was pandering to people's fears and paranoia, setting up an ideological divide in order to maintan his user base. Privacy and Security are certainly worthy of discussion. But I only read the warnings and vague implications, no one ever gets to the "because this is what happen to you otherwise" part. Sent from the iMore App
  • Agreed. The data Google has on your viewing and purchase history etc is not sold or accessed by some employee at Google. Software algorithms use metadata on what you have done via Google's services to pick out which ads in their data base get pushed to you from vendors that buy ad space from Google and you might see said ads on parts of a Google page (ie next to your inbox in GMail or play to you during a YouTube ad, etc), but it is not like the fear mongering wants you to believe and that they have people reading over everything everyone does. Of course if they get a warrant or order by courts/law enforcement they have to hand things over on people, but for regular, average-Joe citizen Google collecting data on you (SO FAR) has really not done much more than lead to targeted advertisements. If someone has proof of other things done with data collected on Google services users, I would love to hear some examples.
  • You will never hear of an example, because they don't exist.
  • That is what I was getting at. Obviously if something comes out and it makes me question my safety with them, of course I would consider it. But so far I have seen no evidence of wrong doings to the extent that fear-mongers and Apple have been alluding Google to do. It is funny. Apple made no mention of this type of stuff years ago in Android's infancy. Now as the hardware is on par and the software of both OS's is pretty much on par, the strategy has now changed from slamming the OS/hardware/etc for being crappy (at least what Apple and its die-hard fans said) to now spreading fear of Google and privacy and service concerns. One failed tactic leads to something else or new. The ironic thing, though, is that iOS has syncing with Twitter and Facebook accounts with contacts built right into iOS and Facebook at least is FAR scarier and less transparent about what they take or do with your data than Google.
  • If only Apple wouldn't share it's data with a data mining company like IBM and at the same time be so damn cozy with those that control the NSA. I also find it odd that Apple has such a form public stance on privacy (which is good), yet seems to enjoy taking $$ and enabling those that have no such regard for privacy (which is bad).
  • If what you say is true, that is what is known as hypocrisy.
  • "If someone says Apple is buggy because of privacy and security, they're technically wrong." Seriously, who has ever said this? Probably no one. " But Google wants that data so, at least back then, it was all or nothing." I'm glad we're using years old examples that weren't true then and aren't true now. I used Google Now for months while having Google Web history turned off. " And I can't help but hope that thanks to Apple's stand on privacy and security in general, all services from all companies will be under immense pressure to be more private and secure as well." Apple's not taking a stand on privacy, they're trying to spread FUD. Why do they have iAds? Why aren't they helping developers more on their platform to get away from an ad model? Why don't they block ads? Why are all these supposed privacy violators all running apps on iOS? Another terrible article that misleads the iMore readers. They deserve better than this trash.
  • I emailed to Derek Kessler, the managing director of Mobile Nations, earlier about these articles and asked if he would organize a podcast amongst all of the Mobile Nations editors about this topic. This really needs to be a discussion with everyone and not just one editor from one site spreading information (possibly wrong or incomplete information) about everyone else to bolster one platform they like. This topic really needs to be a scholarly discussion with everyone.
  • Someone needs to reign Rene in. Articles like these poorly researched and misrepresentative is causing imore to become a joke. For an example Google now works fine with web history turned off, and apple does track and uses it for ads... Hence iAds Posted via the iMore App for Android