Apple Increases Privacy to Attack Google and Microsoft

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

In an era of widespread data collection, targeted advertising, and device tracking, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is taking a stand to offer iOS users better privacy — and gain a competitive edge by trading on the difference between its policies and those of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and even Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

MacWorld‘s Rich Mogull examined Apple’s privacy policy and found a key difference between Apple’s privacy policy and the policies of other companies like Google or Facebook: it actually prioritizes the security of users’ information over the utility of that information for advertising. A line in Apple’s official privacy policy reads:

Personal information will only be shared by Apple to provide or improve our products, services and advertising; it will not be shared with third parties for their marketing purposes.

That’s a strong hint that Apple is forgoing attracting advertisers in order to attract more customers. Mogull then looked to announcements made at Apple’s recent Worldwide Developers Conference to figure out exactly how the company views user privacy. Looking beyond the most celebrated privacy related announcement — that iO S8 will randomize MAC addresses to limit the tracking of Apple devices — he looks at the details on how Apple has set iOS up over the past few years.

He enumerates the variety of features and options that the company has put in place both to ensure users’ privacy and to give them control over their data: “iOS extensions were designed to prevent them from being able to circumvent a user’s privacy settings. No keyboards sniffing keystrokes and sending them off to the Internet (as has happened on Android.) Both HealthKit and HomeKit are designed so users control their own data, and must explicitly allow it to be shared with outsiders. With Touch ID, not only does your fingerprint never leave the device, but apps can never see anything stored in the Secure Enclave. The privacy-minded DuckDuckGo search engine will be a default option, right next to Bing and Google.”

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