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Is Apple Inc. Our privacy vanguard ?

Is Apple Inc. Our privacy vanguard?

The latest update on Apple devices ( iPads and iPhones) gives you more control of your own browsing data. The 14.5 update brings, among other things, to quote “… and App Tracking Transparency lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies pass and websites”.

This essentially means that any company that reads your online purchase preferences cannot give it to others, or themselves unless you allow them to. This will stop social media giants like Facebook from throwing up advertisements of products or brands you were checking on other websites.

Predictably, Facebook is the 1st company crying foul! FB and Instagram both controlled by Zukerberg have been using such measures to maximize their revenue.  While profiting is not bad, it is thus far happening without the explicit consent or knowledge of netizens. Explicit consent because most of apps or websites ask you just 1 permission for cookies – details of this permission are in what’s industry parlance “ privacy policy” which are in fine and superfine print. In hurry to go about our work we rarely read this. And  blanket permission for ‘ cross website tracking ‘ is by default provided by the user.

Cross website tracking is quite analogous with insider trading where private information is being sold for profit and that is not within the scope of ‘legal’ activity. But all this while FB and other such companies have been using just these methods to predict a netizen’s behavior based on his past online searches. Apple made it difficult for them by giving netizens the power to refuse.

Interestingly though the digital giants have other means to track our behavior ( like fingerprinting) it would make it bad in law and nearly illegal to continue sharing the info with advertisers.

The other impediment in Facebook’s scheme would be Mac and IOS’ ability as per Apple Inc.’s privacy policy, to bar these websites or social media companies from App Store and that would pinch !!

Apple users form the upper crust of consumers and have shown a liking for finer products. The cost has been the least of the deterrents in this group. With update 14.5, many of the iPhone users could be the first ones to refuse data sharing given the opportunity. Losing access behavior of elite consumers would surely hurt Facebook’s agility and success rate with advertisers of high ticket products.

For now, it is a big thank you to Tim Cook. Indeed Apple is the 1st and foremost company to stand in the way of predatory practices of social media and upholding the privacy of iPhone users.


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