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New Apple Privacy Policy Unveiled

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Tuesday, November 4th, 2014


While Apple is admired for its cutting-edge products, it is also criticized for being too opaque about its operations. Privacy advocates and security experts have long complained that the company doesn’t disclose anything about how it manages or uses the personal data of millions of its customers. In a bid to address the privacy issues and to counter the negative publicity generated by the recent celebrity photo leaks, the company¬†has released a new Apple privacy policy to coincide with the launch of iPhone 6 and iOS8. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook unveiled the policy through an open letter in which he explained how Apple is different from other Silicon Valley corporations as far as the matter of user privacy is concerned plus he also defended the privacy record of the company.

Tim’s open letter begins with reassuring the customers that security and privacy remains the core foundation upon which all of the Apple products including software, hardware and services are built. He further states that the company has strict policies in place to govern the use of personal data plus it also uses strong encryption to protect the data from theft and misuse. Unlike other companies, Apple is also quick to respond to security breaches since it has already strengthened security procedures and introduced several new features (including app specific passwords and two step authentication for iCloud) after the celebrity data leak came to light.

In his open letter, Tim also attacks the business models of Apple’s competitors (including Google) who profit from customer data. He says that the company is in the business of building and selling great products and not monetizing user data. The company does not build customer profiles based on browsing habits or email content nor does it monetize data stored on Apple’s devices or iCloud. He also makes it explicitly clear that the company doesn’t read private communications (including emails and messages) of its customers. And while Apple does have a service for advertisers (iAd), the data used for it is never taken from call history, contacts, emails, iMessage, Siri or iCloud.

Tim’s letter also explains how Apple protects customer data from government surveillance and handles requests for user data. He assures the customers that the company has never worked with government agencies and there are no backdoors built within Apple’s products or services. He also reiterates that the company has never allowed access to its servers nor does it plan to do so in the future.

Apple’s new privacy policy also includes guidelines and recommendations on how customers can keep their data safe from security threats and cyber criminals. This is especially important since the company is still recovering from the embarrassment caused by the celebrity data leak. The company is also planning to revise its privacy policy at least once every year so that it remains up-to-date with the latest security and privacy information.

While Apple usually does not respond to criticisms, it is good to see that the company has taken the issue of customer privacy pretty seriously and unveiled a privacy policy that manages to address the security and privacy concerns of its customers.


November 4, 2014
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