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.
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?
What does Apple track?
If you do any of those things, they might ask for the following:
Account information, including your Apple ID, email, devices, account status, and age
Device information, like your serial number or browser type
Contact info you provide
Payment info you provide
Transaction info, like which Apple products you’ve purchased and when
Fraud prevention information
Usage data, like which apps you’re using, your browsing and search history, product interaction, crash data, and performance and other diagnostic data
Location info, which is only precise when using “Find My,” otherwise it’s not exact
Health information, if you use their Health app or the health features of Apple Watch
Financial information, if you provide it for any “Apple-branded financial offerings”
Government ID, if required by your local government for certain services
Anything you share via email, social, or other communication with Apple
What does Apple do with my data?
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.
Is it worth 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.