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A Look Inside Apple's User Data Utilization Wars (reuters.com) 67

tlhIngan writes: It's no secret Apple [is] on a privacy bent as of late. But that extends inside of Apple as well with various internal groups fighting for access to user data and often being denied by Apple's "privacy czars" who ensure Apple doesn't collect information they don't [need], that information is used only [in] ways the user allows, and to design the systems to keep user data separate. This has lead to many conflicts, especially for the Siri and iAd team who often cannot access [the] user data they need. Of course, Apple can do this because unlike Google, Facebook or [Amazon], Apple makes money on hardware and not on the sale of customer data.
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A Look Inside Apple's User Data Utilization Wars

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  • How is the /. user not segment fault over this good news!

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @02:52PM (#51755733)
    For a company as secretive as Apple, stories like this don't get out unless Apple intentionally leaks them. It's just like the recent story of how some Apple engineers might quit if forced to implement an encryption backdoor for the government.
    • Really? Are we really that cynical?

      The fact remains that the only major technology company that doesn't base their entire business model around collecting and exploiting the personal data of its users, is Apple. You can't even say that about Microsoft, which we have seen is all too willing to force people to upgrade to their Windows 10 spyware. And your reaction is, "another humble brag?" Boastful or not, leaked or not, deliberate manipulation or not, the bottom line is that nerds who bitch and moan abo

      • But how are Apple haters going to be able to come around to these set of facts...?

      • I don't dispute the facts of the article or any of the points made in your post. My contention is that nothing leaks out of Apple unless Apple wants it to be leaked. Apple has made the protection of user data a cornerstone of their smart device strategy. We saw nearly zero leaks out of Apple for the last 10 years yet suddenly we now get inside information about how their engineers reacted to the potential of having to compromise their encryption and now how their business group is reacting to pressure to ut
        • Except, wasn't the whole Jennifer Lawrence naked photos scandal all about images leaked out of an iPhone? Wasn't it images on an Apple cloud drive??

          And there have been a rash of 'leak' incidents and issues just since the start of this year.

          • I'm not referring to security breaches.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            Except, wasn't the whole Jennifer Lawrence naked photos scandal all about images leaked out of an iPhone? Wasn't it images on an Apple cloud drive??

            And there have been a rash of 'leak' incidents and issues just since the start of this year.

            Actually, it turns out that it was not Apple's fault - it was the result of a massive phishing attack [techcrunch.com].

            It wasn't an attack on iCloud security, it was just social engineering, which explains why "the fappening" was limited to only a few accounts.

          • Except, wasn't the whole Jennifer Lawrence naked photos scandal all about images leaked out of an iPhone? Wasn't it images on an Apple cloud drive??

            Nope, more than half were from hacked Gmail accounts - keep up with the news, binge shitter.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/03/16/the-shockingly-simple-way-the-nude-photos-of-celebgate-were-stolen/ [washingtonpost.com]

            Based on what we know from the plea agreement and prosecutors, it appears that one major part of Celebgate is much less elaborate than what some 4chan users claimed at the time: that many of the photos were stolen through a clever exploitation of a previously unknown iCloud security flaw — a claim that Apple had denied.

            Instead, Collins used a method of gaining access to password-protected accounts that can victimize pretty much anyone. Phishing schemes come in a lot of different flavors, but all follow the same basic outline: Users are tricked into giving out sensitive information by malicious email accounts or websites that appear legitimate. Spear phishing, which appears to be what happened here, involves targeting specific users by impersonating businesses or individuals they might already know.

            According to court filings, Collins stole photos, videos and sometimes entire iPhone backups from at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts,

        • I don't dispute the facts of the article or any of the points made in your post. My contention is that nothing leaks out of Apple unless Apple wants it to be leaked. Apple has made the protection of user data a cornerstone of their smart device strategy. We saw nearly zero leaks out of Apple for the last 10 years yet suddenly we now get inside information about how their engineers reacted to the potential of having to compromise their encryption and now how their business group is reacting to pressure to utilize user data, both stories which support Apple's strategy. You'd have to be cynical not to believe that these leaks weren't humble brags straight from Apple HQ.

          What's your point? That you would only entrust your data to companies that can't even keep their own company secrets to themselves?

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2016 @02:53PM (#51755737) Journal

    Apple can do this because unlike Google, Facebook or [Amazon], Apple makes money on hardware and not on the sale of customer data.

    Google Maps on Android wanted me to register (with Google) in order for Maps to remember recent queries done just 5 minutes ago even. If you don't register, you gotta re-type them in.

    And the User Agreement does permit them to share map queries with vendors.

    Technically a map app could cache recent map queries on the phone itself rather than The Cloud.

    I'm thinking of going back to iPhone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think that the people at Google not-so-secretly hate their users. I imagine that it's similar to how an abusive person feels about a spouse that keeps coming back for more or how a slaughterhouse operator feels when they leave the gates open and none of the livestock even try to escape. How can you have any respect for people who continually and voluntarily interact with Google?

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Didn't they change their creed from "Don't be evil" to something non-committal like, "Make a reasonable attempt cut down on evil a tad if you have the time and it's not too costly"?

    • "ish"?? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 )

      Google to my mind has far surpassed Microsoft in unpleasantness to the user. Microsoft primarily was involved n creating bad user interfaces that were overly complex and lacked style; even though they collect a lot of user info also they don't spread it around nearly so much as Google does. Google's ecosystem is far more "leaky" if you will in terms of apps or advertisers getting a trove of information about your behavior from search or even just day to day movement.

    • But if you go back to iPhone, the maps will lead you out onto an active airplane runway.

      Or was it into a live volcano? I can't remember the details....

  • Perhaps they shouldn't though.
    It could be why Siri is something people use twice then give up because it's not as good as it could be.

  • Information privacy or data protection laws prohibit the disclosure or misuse of information held on private individuals. These laws are based on Fair Information Practice, first developed in the United States in the 1970s by the Department for Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). The basic principles of data protection are:

    For all data collected there should be a stated purpose.

    Information collected by an individual cannot be disclosed to other organizations or individuals unless specifically authorized by law or by consent of the individual

    Records kept on an individual should be accurate and up to date

    There should be mechanisms for individuals to review data about them, to ensure accuracy. This may include periodic reporting

    Data should be deleted when it is no longer needed for the stated purpose

    Transmission of personal information to locations where "equivalent" personal data protection cannot be assured is prohibited

    Some data is too sensitive to be collected, unless there are extreme circumstances (e.g., sexual orientation, religion)

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      For all data collected there should be a stated purpose.

      Becasue we want to do it.

      Information collected by an individual cannot be disclosed to other organizations or individuals unless specifically authorized by law or by consent of the individual

      You did read the 100+ pages EULA, right?

      Records kept on an individual should be accurate and up to date

      And that's why we're always traciing you.

      There should be mechanisms for individuals to review data about them, to ensure accuracy. This may include periodic reporting

      Nothe the 'should' and 'may' not the 'must' and

  • iMessage leaves all kinds of forensic evidence behind AFTER a message is deleted. Including records of when it was deleted...

    https://twitter.com/JZdziarski... [twitter.com]

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      On Android, the app I'd use for securing texts is TextSecure. It not just provided key exchanges, but it stashed the SMS messages encrypted. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be on the Play Store anymore. It didn't have as much functionality as dedicated SMS apps... but it did work and seemed to have been well designed. I'd definitely use this if it were still around, or on iOS.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Signal has replaced it.

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