The data in my phone (the photos, contacts, calendar, mail, messages) define exactly who I am and what am I up to these days. Apart from these applications I also use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn seldomly. And as we know it, the big tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google breach our privacy by running their machine learning algorithms on our emails, messages, photos, contacts. No part of your digital life will stay untouched. Your geo-location, IP address, docs, sheets are also not as private as you may think. This data may be sold to third party consumers without your knowledge/consent.
Imagine you have photos of you and your children in your phone which is adorable but would you want this to be out in public without your consent? Nobody wants their private life to be a business model.
Sadly, the big tech companies do EXACTLY that.
Recently I downloaded the data Facebook, Google, Apple have about me. You can do it too. It’s very straight forward. Here are the links:
It took me about an hour to get data from Facebook and Google but Apple took about a week.
The size of zip file I got from Facebook was 144 MB, from Google it was 5.03 GB! Apple gave me files sized merely 5MB.
I was shocked to see the contents of the Facebook archive. I saw contacts which I deleted years ago, I saw that Facebook knows exactly what stage I am in my life, it has shared my contact information with so many companies; companies I haven’t even heard of! I saw Facebook looked into all the messages I ever exchanged since I joined it. There’s no concept of privacy in this online world. I didn’t even bother downloading the Google archive because I realised what all will it have. I’m sure it’ll be x10 more shocking than Facebook.
I realised I need to somehow erase my digital trail and switch over to more privacy-guaranteed means. In the next article, I’ll write about how to be more secure and private in this digital age.
Below is the snippet of data google connects from you. This is taken from their official page: https://privacy.google.com/your-data.html
And just compare it with Apple’s privacy. SHOCKING AS HELL! Google outright says it reads your email and apple says that even your heart rate is private.
“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”
The conversations over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption, this means even Apple cannot see it. Apple also doesn’t store your geo-location, map searches, Siri requests in any identifiable form.
Apple has information about you which is mostly about the content you’re consuming via iTunes, App Store, data about phone servicing, data pertaining to tickets raised by you. Apple doesn’t store any messages, geo-locations, ads like Google and Facebook.
If one really digs into this subject of privacy, one may find that Apple lets you NSA-proof your iCloud keychain, protects an employee’s personal information from his or her employer when using Mobile Device Management, and has designed the iPhone without law-enforcement back doors.
But in the most telling recent news of all, it appears the Apple will randomize the Wi-Fi hardware address of iOS devices to frustrate location and advertising trackers who use this address to know who you are when you move around in public. This is a subtle feature that the vast majority of iOS users won’t ever realize exists, even as it protects them.
The machine learning algorithms require large datasets to yield impressive results. Apple uses futuristic technology of Differential Privacy to get impressive results without compromising user’s privacy. Differential privacy is a cryptography-based practice of obtaining usage and preference data without linking it to specific users.
With each iOS, OSX, iCloud update Apple always tries to strengthen its privacy policies. The iOS is designed to not impeach user’s privacy settings. No keyboards sniffing keystrokes and sending them off to the Internet (as has happened on Android). The smart home (HomeKit) service offered by Apple makes sure user’s data stays in their control. The web browser Safari gives option to use privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo. The biometric fingerprint (the Touch ID) is secured in the hardware (iPhone, Mac, iPad).
Even though Apple products are REALLY expensive, the best product offered by Apple is truly priceless.