In this world of data collection and processing, Apple takes the lead on privacy
When it comes to online privacy, one Big Tech company has taken the lead. I’ll give you a hint: Their name is a fruit and their founder really liked black turtlenecks.
Ding ding ding! If you guessed Apple, you’re right on the money. The tech behemoth has planted a flag in the privacy space, doubling down on the idea that it’s a “fundamental human right” and cracking down on apps and services that track users and compile data. This year alone we’ve seen them roll out anti-tracking features — including the option to opt-out of app tracking — and a Hide My Email feature that helps protect people from data breaches.
They’re not perfect, of course. Apple has been criticized for the potential for law enforcement to access data that’s stored on iCloud. There are serious questions about how data is collected and used within the Apple ecosystem. But I spend all day every day writing about online security and privacy and I’m being completely up front when I tell you that I recommend Apple to my friends and family because of their privacy measures. Again: it’s definitely not perfect. But Apple is further along the privacy path than the majority of their competitors.
So with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at Apple for this installment of What Does the Internet Know About Me?
If you do any of those things, they might ask for the following:
The most ambiguous group that Apple may share my data with is titled “Others.” That category includes neutral “others,” like my carrier when I activated my account, and much less neutral “others,” like law enforcement or national security officers. However, Apple has so far been pretty resistant to law enforcement efforts to access individuals’ devices, even when they’ve been accused of atrocious crimes. So do with that what you will.
There’s a noticeable group missing from the list of who Apple shares data with and if you’ve been reading along with What Does the Internet Know About Me? for a while, you’ve probably already spotted it: Advertisers. Apple doesn’t share my data with advertisers and doesn’t compile it with other data sets to serve me targeted ads.
They do, however, process a lot of my data and use it to sell ads within their own ecosystem. It’s kind of a weird grey area, because they’re not sharing it with third parties but they’re still collecting and using it.
I kind of gave away the verdict in the opening of this article, but I’ll reiterate it here: If you care about privacy, Apple is the way to go. Is it perfect? No. Are there still advances to be made? Absolutely. Do I have concerns? One hundred percent. But in this world of data collection and processing, they’re better than nothing.
The concept of digital identity is fairly new and might sound complex, but it’s pretty easy to grasp. What’s more, most of us have one and it’s a lot more valuable than you think.
Social media and other online platforms are here to stay. Have that safety conversation with your child, and gather and activate security tools like Discord’s Family Center.