With government surveillance of customer data at an all time high, tech companies address their privacy policies around data protection differently, and Apple has made customer data privacy a priority by baking changes into the iOS 8 software update. Customers have good reason to be concerned about companies selling their information to advertisers or companies themselves, especially since privacy policies are often so vague.
To create transparency with customers, Apple created a new privacy section on its website where the company stated that privacy is a priority. "We don't build a profile based on your email content or Web browsing habits to sell to advertisers," wrote CEO Tim Cook. "We don't 'monetize' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you."
Some tech companies source their ads based on customer information, but Apple has made a clear stand against selling customer information by implementing MAC address randomization for WiFi network scans and the Limit Ad Tracking setting. While Apple has an advertising branch, iAd, the company doesn't pull data from Apple customers to supply iAd with information.
Taking data protection one step further, iOS 8 protects customers' photos, messages, email, contacts and other information that only the customer's passcode can access. In the past, Apple could bypass the customer's passcode (only 0.00385 percent of Apple customers have had data disclosed due to government requests), but now that's not possible. "Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data," according to Apple's privacy site. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Apple is making quite the bold stand saying that data is protected not only from advertisers, but also from government authorities. Lo and behold, though, that data can be accessed via another device synced with the iPhone, even if the device is locked, notes Jonathan Zdziarski, security researcher.
While Apple's changes are moving in the positive direction, there is still much room for improvement until customers will feel comfortable with how much information tech giants have access to.
H/t: Information Week
Image via Can Stock Photo
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