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AI IOS Iphone Privacy Apple

Apple Won't Collect Your Data For Its AI Services Unless You Let It (recode.net) 36

Apple doesn't like collecting your data. This is one of iPhone maker's biggest selling points. But this approach has arguably acted as a major roadblock for Apple in its AI and bots efforts. With iOS 10, the latest version of company's mobile operating system, Apple announced that it will begin collecting a range of new information as it seeks to make Siri and iPhone as well as other apps and services better at predicting the information its owner might want at a given time. Apple announced that it will be collecting data employing something called differential privacy. The company wasn't very clear at the event, which caused confusion among many as to what data Apple is exactly collecting. But now it is offering more explanation. Recode reports:As for what data is being collected, Apple says that differential privacy will initially be limited to four specific use cases: New words that users add to their local dictionaries, emojis typed by the user (so that Apple can suggest emoji replacements), deep links used inside apps (provided they are marked for public indexing) and lookup hints within notes. Apple will also continue to do a lot of its predictive work on the device, something it started with the proactive features in iOS 9. This work doesn't tap the cloud for analysis, nor is the data shared using differential privacy.Additionally, Recode adds that Apple hasn't yet begun collecting data, and it will ask for a user's consent before doing so. The company adds that it is not using a users' cloud-stored photos to power its image recognition feature.
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Apple Won't Collect Your Data For Its AI Services Unless You Let It

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  • Siri (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @03:42PM (#52384683) Homepage Journal

    Isn't everything ever spoken to Siri sent to Apple? Also probably stored to improve the algorithm ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2016 @03:46PM (#52384705)

    Despite being a Linux user for many years, I'm really beginning to trust Apple more and more each day. Unlike certain other companies, I know how they make their money from me: I pay it to them. I can see why they don't need to collect private information about me. I can see why they don't need to know when I urinate, when I defecate, how much of each I've made, and how they both smell. Apple isn't trying to advertise other companies' junk to me. They're just providing top-notch products. The higher-than-usual cost reflects how these products are better, and this premium helps avoid the need to collect and sell data. When the next edition of the rMBP hardware comes out, I'm going to buy one. I've had enough of Linux. I've had enough of systemd. Yeah, a Mac won't be cheap. But I'll trust it and its software more than I will the alternatives.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Does Apple even make serious computers anymore? I'm looking at their website and almost everything listed is basically using hardware from 5 years ago. Seems like they just make phones, iPads and glorified netbooks now.
    • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

      Unfortunately the very nature of services like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now *require* you to send them your data in order for them to work. How is Google Now supposed to advise me of my flight tomorrow being delayed if it doesn't know about the flight in the first place.

      These services are incredibly useful and powerful and get more useful and powerful all the time, yet, Apple has none of them. This is what analysts are concerned about. People will willingly sacrifice a bit of their data if it makes their

      • Unfortunately the very nature of services like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now *require* you to send them your data in order for them to work. How is Google Now supposed to advise me of my flight tomorrow being delayed if it doesn't know about the flight in the first place.

        These services are incredibly useful and powerful and get more useful and powerful all the time, yet, Apple has none of them. This is what analysts are concerned about. People will willingly sacrifice a bit of their data if it makes their lives infinitely simpler - I know I have no problem with it because Google Now is *just that good*.

        Aw ww, that's cute; you really believe all that gratuitous data mining is NECESSARY...

        Well, Siri seems to do just fine without it, and as shown in the WWDC Keynote a week or so ago, is going to get much smarter with iOS 10 and now coming to MacOS Sierra. And all this WITHOUT making you a data donor.

    • Despite being a Linux user for many years, I'm really beginning to trust Apple more and more each day. Unlike certain other companies, I know how they make their money from me: I pay it to them. I can see why they don't need to collect private information about me. I can see why they don't need to know when I urinate, when I defecate, how much of each I've made, and how they both smell. Apple isn't trying to advertise other companies' junk to me. They're just providing top-notch products. The higher-than-usual cost reflects how these products are better, and this premium helps avoid the need to collect and sell data. When the next edition of the rMBP hardware comes out, I'm going to buy one. I've had enough of Linux. I've had enough of systemd. Yeah, a Mac won't be cheap. But I'll trust it and its software more than I will the alternatives.

      Finally! Someone who understands the difference between Price and Value!

  • More accurately: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @04:29PM (#52385021)

    Apple does not make collection of your data mandatory for use of its products and services, or even for them to be fully functional. They didn't base their entire business model around hovering up every bit of personal data possible and selling it to the highest bidder.

    But it's probably inaccurate to say: "Apple doesn't like collecting your data.". If you're happy giving it to Apple, I'm sure they're happy to accept it. It's a nice bonus for them, but not a requirement for entry.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      All evidence points to them not wanting your data. It appears to be nothing but a liability to them. They actively seem to be making everything they offer end-to-end encrypted, deliberately shutting themselves out of data they once had access to.

      Having the data doesn't benefit them in any way, but it does do them harm - it makes them vulnerable to hackers and governments gaining access to the data.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Friday June 24, 2016 @05:17PM (#52385315)

        All evidence points to them not wanting your data. It appears to be nothing but a liability to them. They actively seem to be making everything they offer end-to-end encrypted, deliberately shutting themselves out of data they once had access to.

        Having the data doesn't benefit them in any way, but it does do them harm - it makes them vulnerable to hackers and governments gaining access to the data.

        Your private data, yes, Apple doesn't want it. Having it means having to handle icky things like lawsuits and court orders and other nasty things. It's why their basic iCloud backup service stores very little information - it won't store passwords for example - so Apple can't be subpoenaed and forced to reveal the information to law enforcement.

        In fact, the only way to do a complete, full backup of an iOS device is to use iTunes, and to set that as an encrypted backup. Then iOS will save the backup information as well.

        Apple is just practicing data sanitation 101 - if you don't need it, don't collect it, and you won't be hacked for it, or have LEOs ask for it. etc.

        Of course, the problem is, sometimes you want to collect some information to make services better - things like autocorrect and other information. That's where stuff like differential privacy comes into play. Differential privacy relies on the fact that if something is popular, it will be popular, so even if the data you sent doesn't include that information, it doesn't matter as the "crowd" will still find it popular. Basically it degrades data quality for increased anonymity. But if you have a big enough sample pool, the quality degrades at a far lower rate as the increase in anonymity gets you.

        One also needs to note this is really the only way Apple is trying to compete with Android. Google is great at a lot of things, making Android quite good, but there's one area Google is not good at, and Apple sees it as the area they can make money in.

        Of course, it also means that if you have two devices, the "Memories" feature of Photos can come up with two very different results because there's no cloud involvement, so each device analyzes it separately.

        And perhaps, this is what Apple's "new product" actually is - privacy. It's not hardware, but it's a philosophy

  • so you are saying in IOS 10 I get to enjoy this:

    Siri: I think you may to see hot naked girls with bananas and cream. Shall I show you?
    Me: Umm, no Siri, I have no idea why would ever think I would want to see that.
    Girlfriend: Glares and glares and glares
  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @05:25PM (#52385387)
    So Apple says they'll do voluntarily what Google does only after having been forced and fined in the EU: Adhere to existing data protection laws, and at least ask for consent before selling your data? There used to be times when it was pretty common (around here) to not run businesses on illegal activities.
    • So Apple says they'll do voluntarily what Google does only after having been forced and fined in the EU: Adhere to existing data protection laws, and at least ask for consent before selling your data? There used to be times when it was pretty common (around here) to not run businesses on illegal activities.

      You must be an Apple fanboy, telling us how Google is breaking the law and Apple isn't.

    • So Apple says they'll do voluntarily what Google does only after having been forced and fined in the EU: Adhere to existing data protection laws, and at least ask for consent before selling your data?

      So you are saying Apple will voluntarily do outside (and inside) the EU what Google has been forced to do inside the EU but most certainly still wont do outside?

  • OH OKAY I BELIEVE YOU

    Yeah who likes free money and power? That stuff sucks. I wouldn't like it either.

  • "it will ask for a user's consent before doing so." My hope is this won't have been tucked away in some 80 page long wall of legalese text that I had to click through when updating to said software version...
    • My hope is this won't have been tucked away in some 80 page long wall of legalese text that I had to click through when updating to said software version...

      Every privacy related feature, if you submit an app to the store Apple checks that you have a good reason to request the information and rejects your app if it doesn't. And it rejects your app if it doesn't work (in a possibly reduced way) if the user doesn't give permission. Which avoids users having the choice of givning up privacy or not using an app, as in Android.

      An app cannot use data considered private without asking you, and you can change the settings at any time in "Settings" under "Privacy". Y

      • Well for apps, yes. But in this discussion we are discussing Apple's operating systems and the feature therein, and whether Apple wants your data or not. When you try to update to a new version of iOS or macOS they present you with an agreement that you must agree to before they allow you to update.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "The way the system does that is by introducing random bits of noise into the data in known amounts. The classic example is a survey in which users are asked a potentially embarrassing question, such as whether they've ever used drugs. Respondents would be instructed to flip a coin without telling the survey givers how it lands. If the coin comes up heads, they are instructed to answer truthfully. If it comes up tails, they are instructed to flip again. On the second flip, if the coin comes up heads, they

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