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Businesses Privacy Apple Science

Apple's Privacy Policies Are Keeping Data Scientists Away 117

An anonymous reader writes: The Cupertino-based global device giant is falling behind in the race to create 'predictive' services for smartphones because its privacy policies are too protective of the end-user. Data retention policies on user-centric information gathered into its Siri 'personal assistant' product is a reasonably generous six months, whilst information retained from the user's exploration of Apple Maps expires after only 15 minutes. As a consequence Apple's smartphones attempt to crunch a great deal of user-data locally rather than in the cloud.
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Apple's Privacy Policies Are Keeping Data Scientists Away

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  • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <{gaygirlie} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Monday September 07, 2015 @07:34PM (#50474817) Homepage

    Why is this written as if it was a negative thing?

    • by theArtificial ( 613980 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @07:38PM (#50474841)
      Apparently protecting information is taboo, go figure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does this imply Android users are being tracked heavily (like Win10) by these so-called data scientists?

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @07:41PM (#50474875)

        Why would you think that an advertising company would respect your privacy?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes.

        https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0

        There is stuff in there I did *years* ago. You can turn it off. But you have to deliberately disable it in the phone and inside of the google settings. It is strictly opt-out.

        • https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/b/0

          There is stuff in there I did *years* ago.

          If you don't like that, delete it. Cick on the settings icon (the little gear wheel) and click "Delete all location history." If you'd like you can download a copy of it first. That's in the same settings menu.

          You can turn it off. But you have to deliberately disable it in the phone and inside of the google settings. It is strictly opt-out.

          No, it's strictly opt-in. If it's on, it's because you turned it on.

          • No, it's strictly opt-in. If it's on, it's because you turned it on.

            BULL

            FUCKING

            SHIT

            You're a liar and you should feel bad.

            • No, it's strictly opt-in. If it's on, it's because you turned it on.

              BULL

              FUCKING

              SHIT

              You're a liar and you should feel bad.

              I can support my assertion, can you?

              http://www.androidcentral.com/understanding-googles-android-location-tracking

              • by Anonymous Coward

                I'm not buying "opt in", not in any meaningful sense of the word. It's on by default, and you need to take steps to turn it off. That makes it "opt out".

                But if you buy, say, a Nexus branded device ... it comes with the "I hereby agree to be tracked" checked.

                Calling it purely opt in is, as the GPO says, completely bullshit.

                Just like it's bullshit to say all those people have decided "gee, I really need this ask.com toolbar" when they install Java.

                But don't fucking pretend all those people go "gee, I need to

            • by allo ( 1728082 )

              It has at least an easy opt-out.

          • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

            take a new android phone, create a new google account and boom you're opted in and logged in the browser too.

            how the fuck is that opt out?

            or wait... are you suggesting that logging in with a google account is logging in?

      • no, the data scientists analyze the data once it's been collected. the heavy tracking is implemented by another department.

      • "Data scientist", "Sanitation Engineer", why can't we call these people what they are? "Paid Busybody"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The story makes me want to run out, and buy an Iphone

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by rmdingler ( 1955220 )

        The story makes me want to run out, and buy an Iphone

        By design, as it were.

        /. ; slow to pick on/up the ripe apples.

      • Not me. I'm going to stick with Android. But I do think it's a very positive thing on Apple's side of things that they are protective of peoples' privacy and try to do all the crunching locally. It's something I would like to see from Android - devs and manufacturers, but, well, the pessimist in me says "no effing chance, just prepare your anus."

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Not me. I'm going to stick with Android. But I do think it's a very positive thing on Apple's side of things that they are protective of peoples' privacy and try to do all the crunching locally. It's something I would like to see from Android - devs and manufacturers, but, well, the pessimist in me says "no effing chance, just prepare your anus."

          Well, then you have to fix the Android update issue.

          With a cloud service (which is what happens when data is shipped to a server and crunched there), you have acces

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this written as if it was a negative thing?

      I'd say it's due to the author's serf mentality.

    • Why is this written as if it was a negative thing?

      It's a negative thing if you want predictive services.

      Apple seems to be betting that the vast majority of their users will prefer privacy over convenience. I think that's a bad bet. Time will tell.

      • Apple's bet seems to be paying off:

        https://twitter.com/dtellom/st... [twitter.com]

        • Apple's bet seems to be paying off:

          https://twitter.com/dtellom/st... [twitter.com]

          Not sure I buy that graph... but ignoring that it really has no impact on my point. Predictive services aren't yet important enough to drive smartphone buying decisions. They're past the gimmick stage, into the "useful in narrow ways" stage, but a lot more is coming.

          • Predictive services aren't yet important enough to drive smartphone buying decisions. They're past the gimmick stage, into the "useful in narrow ways" stage, but a lot more is coming.

            Well, let's hear it then: what "predictive services" are currently existent, what are coming, and why would any of them be a net positive to the typical end user, much less more important than other concerns?

            The article itself doesn't answer these questions, and in fact seems to be nothing more than marketing material for mach

            • by MrNaz ( 730548 )

              There's this small thing you may have heard of called predictive text. It was very useful, 15 years ago. This may come as a shock to you, but the people making tech like that have actually done stuff in the 15 years since.

              • by praxis ( 19962 )

                Predictive text is only one predictive service. It's also one that iOS does. Perhaps a different example of an area in which iOS is behind would be better?

              • Predictive text is local. It doesn't require giving some corporation your data.

                Try again.

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        Predictive services are a double edged sword. On one hand it's great if your phone can do something for you before you even know you need it, but it's very easy for a scenario like that to backfire unexpectedly and disastrously.

        "Beep boop, you almost forgot your anniversery, I have ordered flowers for your SO".
        "But, my anniversery isn't for another 4 months...oh shit the mistress!"
        "Honey, why is there a charge on our card to the flower shop for an anniversary special? And where are the flowers?"
    • Why is this written as if it was a negative thing?

      It's Apple reverse psychology propaganda.

    • Damn, the man!


      Save the Empire! -- Empire Records, that is--
    • Because it's Apple, and the typical slashdot denizen tries to frame everything Apple does as bad, even when it's good.

      • Because it's Apple, and the typical slashdot denizen tries to frame everything Apple does as bad, even when it's good.

        Isn't dat da Trufe?!?

    • Why is this written as if it was a negative thing?

      EXACTLY why I came here. To post the same question.

  • One Word (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2015 @07:38PM (#50474833)

    GOOD

  • I dont think Data Scientists would be concerned about Apple's privacy policy because of all the words around it and how they execute it. If Data Scientists want anonamised data, just ask apple.

    Maybe you meant to say: Preadatory Information Stealing Businesses and self-named Entrepreneurs?

    Or would that take too much space? /. has changed in recent years. Now anictodal evidence of something is proof of something else which is completely unproven.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @07:58PM (#50474983)

    Privacy is bad?

    After looking at the new Galaxy S6 that my wife just got, and seeing that the weather app (Accuweather) requires the most fine-grained GPS (gps+nearest wifi routers) just to give you the bloody weather(they don't trust you to put in a zip code or city manually), I am all out of fucks to give these "data scientists."

    Enough with the data mining and privacy stripping. The optimism I had for ubiquitous computing available to all - giving people access to uncensorable communications - that I had back in the 80s through 90s, is now replaced by the pessimistic vision of Telescreens being installed not by fiat, but for mere consumer convenience.

    As for Accuweather: Accuweather is fucking /gone/ and a shortcut to mobile.weather.gov is on the homescreen.

    --
    BMO

    • I was talking to someone who went to download a weather app for her Android phone and she was reading the terms before the download began. It wanted access to her photos so she didn't download it. Why the hell does a weather app need access to your photos? It didn't mention anything about using them as a background. I can't remember what one it was but it was one of the major weather apps.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @08:14PM (#50475083) Journal
    More companies should do this. Well done Apple and, thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now they won't let data scientists spy on us? What's next? Make a great UNIX desktop? Oh wait, they already did that!

    Fuck Apple!

  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigBuckHunter ( 722855 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @08:25PM (#50475151)
    Summary: Joseph Gonzalez, co-founder of Dato, is miffed that his product is unable to exploit Apple's user base an it is hurting their revenue stream. He whines about it to Reuters and they write a sensationalist article. The end.
    • Summary: Joseph Gonzalez, co-founder of Dato, is miffed that his product is unable to exploit Apple's user base an it is hurting their revenue stream. He whines about it to Reuters and they write a sensationalist article. The end.

      What? Can't he get enough Android user data? To hear the Slashtards talk, they own so much of the marketshare that the iOS data should be but a blip on the graph?

      Hmmm, unless...

  • I'd say so, except that Apple does not put such restrictions on themselves.

    There's an incredibly obnoxious app on my current HTC (which will be deleted when I get time). It scans my carrier's voicemail, ships the sound off to some unspecified data-mining location, and sends a text back to my phone. Worst of all, is that it has no disable feature; even though I have not paid for the service, I catch the damn thing running.

  • Google Apple (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We've given too much flak on Apple and their overpriced products,
    however if this is the only company that truly cares about end-user privacy then Apple is truly better in all ways over Google

    • They can care all they want. Fifteen minutes is more than long enough for a mandated government tap to hoover up your location information, and they can't tell you about it. This is privacy theater.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I beg to differ, it does count:

        1. Entering the american border with an electronic device storing sensitive data is not an option for foreigners. With Android, the resetted device contains both the sensitive data stored before and the keys used to encrypt the device. Apple simply throws away the key stored in the cpu, leaving only unreadable data.

        Worse: Some Android manufacturers have not implemented whole device encryption correctly to this very day. And bitlocker is a joke on windows

        2. Before Android did a

      • Why are you so consistently wrong?

        http://apple.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ""They want to make a phone that responds to you very quickly without knowledge of the rest of the world," said Joseph Gonzalez, co-founder of Dato, a machine learning startup. "It's harder to do that."

    Yeah, it may be harder, but thats why you employ smarter people.

    Its also a damn sight easier to sit on ones butt and watch a football game rather than be there playing it.
    Most people sit and watch, the greats are there putting themselves on the line doing the hard stuff for the benefit of the watchers.

    Dato so

  • Who typed this BS and why did you deem it necessary to repeat it here on slashdot?
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Who typed this BS and why did you deem it necessary to repeat it here on slashdot?

      To be fair, they are. Android's privacy policy for years has been 'you don't have any, once you click to install that screensaver that wants every possible permission so it can spy on you'. Microsoft's privacy policy with Windows 10 is apparently now 'ha-ha-ha.'

      Apple are the holdout, among major commercial operating systems where the standard privacy policy is moving to 'all spyware, all the time'. Which is why I replaced my Android tablet with an iPad some time ago.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        To be fair, they are. Android's privacy policy for years has been 'you don't have any, once you click to install that screensaver that wants every possible permission so it can spy on you'. Microsoft's privacy policy with Windows 10 is apparently now 'ha-ha-ha.'

        Apple are the holdout, among major commercial operating systems where the standard privacy policy is moving to 'all spyware, all the time'. Which is why I replaced my Android tablet with an iPad some time ago.

        Or, to put it another way - Apple cares b

  • Oh wow, you mean Apple cares about your privacy? Bad Apple, here's my worst nightmare, and a list of my favorites cookies. Anybody want it? It's not like anybody could abuse this information.
  • Collecting massive amounts of data on people's personal lives could lead to new insights--I've heard this before. I'd rather have privacy. Why not collect massive amounts of data on governments and businesses instead? This could provide some actual evidence to base economic theories on, unstead of the naval gazing they're currently built on.
  • Anyone who uses the phrase "too protective of the end-user" should be smacked upside the head.

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