Home iOS Apple VP Federighi wants competitors to copy Apple’s privacy protection

Apple VP Federighi wants competitors to copy Apple’s privacy protection

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Apple Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, discussed his company’s thoughts on ad tracking and more at the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference today. Not surprisingly, he stressed the importance of privacy for Apple — which has made it a centerpiece — in particular and users in general.

Privacy is possible…

It is “absolutely possible to design technology that respects [customer] privacy and protects their personal information,” Federighi said during this speech. “When it comes to privacy protections, we’re very happy to see our competitors copy our work, or develop innovative privacy features of their own that we can learn from.”

…but it’s under assault

Apple believes privacy to be a fundamental human right and builds privacy into all the operating systems used in its products. “We’re responsible not only for upholding Apple’s commitments to privacy, but for actually embodying those commitments as code,” he said.

Echoing CEO Tim Cook’s 2018 warning on the evolution of privatized surveillance, Federighi stressed the danger we face: “Never before has the right to privacy — the right to keep personal data under your own control — been under assault like it is today.”

Federighi spoke a little about the history of computing, pointing out that data was originally kept on floppy discs in a box beside the desk, not in the cloud. Now, he warns: “The mass centralization of data puts privacy at risk — no matter who’s collecting it and what their intentions might be. So, we believe Apple should have as little data about our customers as possible.

[Also read: How to stay as private as possible on the Mac and How to stay as private as possible on Apple’s iPad and iPhone]

On Apple’s approach to privacy

“Now, others take the opposite approach,” he said. “They gather, sell, and hoard as much of your personal information as they can. The result is a data-industrial complex, where shadowy actors work to infiltrate the most intimate parts of your life and exploit whatever they can find — whether to sell you something, to radicalize your views, or worse.”

Apple’s response to this is not to collect the data in the first place, which it calls data minimization.

He pointed to another strand in Apple’s strategy: To process what data is collected on the device, rather than in the cloud. This approach is designed to keep private data under a user’s control.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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