Tags: Apple | privacy | iphones | stores

Apple Updates Privacy Policy as New IPhones Head to Stores

Thursday, 18 September 2014 05:21 PM

Apple Inc. updated its privacy policy in an attempt to reassure users that their data is safe as the iPhone maker moves into health and payment technologies, and deals with the recent theft of celebrity photos from Apple accounts.

“We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why,” Tim Cook, chief executive officer, said in a message posted on the company’s website Wednesday.

Privacy is a key issue for Apple as it prepares to roll out new services that will require people to trust it with sensitive information. Apple last week introduced a new smart watch with features such as health tracking along with a mobile-payment system called Apple Pay. The company will start selling its latest iPhone models in stores on Sept. 19, as the Cupertino, California-based company refreshes its product lineup ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“They’re in some sense trying to distinguish themselves from Google, from Facebook and others that basically monetize your personal information,” Clifford Neuman, director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Computer Systems Security, said in a telephone interview. “Of course, they’ve got a little bit of a luxury to do that because they make so much more from the devices.”

Secure Data

Apple described how its new operating system for mobile devices encrypts messages in a way that can’t be accessed without the user’s passcode. Personal data on devices running Apple’s new iOS are placed under the user’s passcode and can’t be bypassed, the company said.

“Unlike other companies’ messaging services, Apple doesn’t scan your communications, and we wouldn’t be able to comply with a wiretap order even if we wanted to,” the policy said. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

The issue over government access to mobile-phone data was taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. The court ruled in June that police must usually obtain a warrant before they’re able to search the phone of a person being arrested.

Privacy Concerns

The announcements follow concerns raised about privacy after pictures of naked celebrities such as Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence were posted on the Internet. While Apple has said its systems weren’t breached, hackers most likely broke into Apple iCloud accounts, which back up data and images from devices such as the iPhone and iPad. While data can be backed-up onto iCloud, the feature can also be turned off.

The new Apple privacy policy website encourages users to manage their privacy with various settings and provides tips to avoid phishing scams.

“They were phished,” Cook said in an interview with Charlie Rose at Bloomberg headquarters in New York last week. “My understanding is it wasn’t a breach there, either, of the infrastructure. It was a phishing expedition. There are lots of bad people that do this.”

Customer Data

Apple laid out its policies on health data, noting that users have specific control over what is shared with applications on devices and that app developers are prohibited from selling or sharing that information to advertisers, data brokers or information resellers.

Apple has been facing more questions about the privacy of users’ data. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has asked for meeting with the company over privacy protections for users of the company’s watch.

“Our business is not based on having information about you, you’re not our product,” Cook said in the interview. “We run a very different company. I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried.”

Separately, Apple said Wednesday that it’s delaying the release of new health-tracking software, a key feature of the new mobile-operating system, due to a software bug.

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Apple Inc. updated its privacy policy in an attempt to reassure users that their data is safe as the iPhone maker moves into health and payment technologies, and deals with the recent theft of celebrity photos from Apple accounts.
Apple, privacy, iphones, stores
Thursday, 18 September 2014 05:21 PM
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