As noted in previous posts, the privacy policies of major tech companies, especially those with products and services that we interact with on a daily basis using our mobile devices, are getting a lot of media attention. And rightfully so. What’s moot? What’s not? Just because “it can be collected” begs the question of whether it should be collected. Just because “it makes us money” begs the question of whether it’s ethical or sustainable.
It’s all about trust. And secure handling and storage of personal data. As our mouse cursors or fingers hover over the “I agree” buttons for these long policies, who really ponders saying no? How many people check whether their personal data is shared reasonably — without arbitrary or capricious or nebulous intent?
The mobility and convenience of our digital mixes requires more and more personal data be collected, stored, and shared. Not just account information. Privacy policies evolve to address those expanding shares (as well as sometimes to clarify such policies).
The company isn’t just issuing platitudes about how great its privacy protections are—it dives into real detail about how its various services use and protect your data.
I find this article’s summary of how Apple handles data for their new News app particularly interesting:
The articles you read in iOS 9’s News app aren’t linked to you specifically, but to an anonymous News-specific identifier that you can reset at any time. News does use iCloud to offer you recommendations across all the devices you read News on, but those are stored on the device and not seen by Apple.
Apple does put ads in the News app and uses your reading activity to determine which ads to show you, but that information cannot be used outside of News to show you ads in any other app—not by Apple, and not by the publishers you read in News. You can also turn on Limit Ad Tracking so Apple can’t target ads to you based on your activity in News.
Evidently Apple’s iOS 9 security white paper is 60 pages long. Sigh.