“I look at Apple as a positive game changer when we talk about privacy,” says Pernille Tranberg, cofounder of Danish think tank Data Ethics EU. Tranberg says that Apple was the first to block third-party tracking cookies in its browser and has generally put people’s privacy first, although it is not without controversy. “I think they are responsible for a lot of positive [privacy] change. They have actually been doing stuff before it was demanded by the law.”
However, as the company grows its advertising business, there is likely to be increased scrutiny around its practices and the information it has about you. Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s data collection.
Whitestone works for an international group based in Switzerland: It’s a time-consuming career with weekly travel obligations. One of her favourite project management tools is Jira, basically “a to-do list, but on steroids,” as she describes it. “I live and breathe my to-do list at work,” she says. “I'm juggling so many projects and have so many things I need to remember.” Her favourite apps are synchronised to her personal calendar, too - which she shares with her boyfriend.
“And now, the crazy part,” Whitestone continues. She says her management tools have also become fundamental in keeping track of other parts of her life – from dates to couple trips, from exercise classes to endometriosis symptoms, and even random thoughts. When she shows me her apps, I feel as if I’ve been granted access to her entire private life. “I don't have to remember if my phone tells me,” she explains when I ask why these apps are so useful to her.
In the best of this new world, the data is conveyed remotely to a medical professional for the convenience and comfort of the patient — all without the need for costly hardware.
But using smartphones as diagnostic tools remains a work in progress. Although doctors and their patients have found some real-world success, experts said their overall potential remains unfulfilled and uncertain.
Called Automatic Verification, it’s an Apple-developed system that lets the company send a token to a website that the site can accept in lieu of a CAPTCHA.
A little click of the icon, and that recipe will automatically save into your own personalized recipe folder. Not only that, but it will also organize them however you choose, create shopping lists for you, and help you plan your meals.
In his 2019 Stanford address, Tim Cook warned about the threat to our “freedom to be human” from technology that looks to get inside our heads and rearrange the furniture. His “freedom to be human” is, essentially, our fundamental right to freedom of thought—an absolute right that has been mostly overlooked until now. The importance of Tim Cook’s speech was the recognition that Silicon Valley itself could never have come into existence in the current climate. Technology that undermines freedom of thought ultimately undermines innovation, and that is not good for anyone.
This will be the year we take back control of our minds and regain our freedom to think for ourselves. From persuasive design to behavioral micro-targeting through emotion recognition technology, predictive policing and neuropolitics, in the past decade the goal of much new and emerging technology has been about curating what Shoshana Zuboff calls “human futures,” exploiting our data to judge and control what we think and feel and ultimately how we behave. However, we are now at a tipping point, and in 2023 we will start to see shifts in both the regulatory landscape and in the direction of tech innovation that reinforce and protect our right to freedom of thought in the digital age.
Apple need to be whiter than white with regards to respecting customers' privacy.
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