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Article by Domain Support
“Apple takes data security and the privacy of your personal information very seriously.” – iCloud security and privacy overview

With computer privacy “We are talking about restricting information within a computer for the use of a specified group of persons;
we do not want the information freely available to the public. We want to isolate the information from unauthorized observation.” [1] With computer security most are “concerned with accidents or deliberate attempts which divulge computer-resident information to unauthorized parties.” While this paper is dated, the concepts describe what the chief concern is in the information age regarding personal data storage in the cloud or on computers that is expected to be both private and secure. This concern is paramount with continuing reports of security breaches of personal data in government, enterprise, social media, search engines, etc., published in the news on a regular basis.  A report from India on this subject points out, “since there is no common cloud computing security standard, there are additional challenges associated with this. Many cloud vendors implement their own proprietary standards and security technologies, and implement differing security models, which need to be evaluated on their own merits.” This is where Apple excels in both privacy and security, not only in its cloud service, but also in software (MacOS, iOS) and hardware.

Apple’s Differential Privacy

At Apple’s 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, reported by Apple Insider, explained that Apple has invested in “differential privacy,” a means of maximizing the accuracy of queries from statistical databases while at the same time minimizing the chances of identifying specific individuals. Differential privacy uses a variety of techniques to do this, like hashing, subsampling and noise injection.” As Wired puts it, “Differential privacy, translated from Apple-speak, is the statistical science of trying to learn as much as possible about a group while learning as little as possible about any individual in it. With differential privacy, Apple can collect and store its users’ data in a format that lets it glean useful notions about what people do, say, like and want. But it can’t extract anything about a single, specific one of those people that might represent a privacy violation. And neither, in theory, could hackers or intelligence agencies.”

The Verge commenting on “differential privacy” writes, “Even without a strict privacy budget, these measures are still worlds away from Gmail’s routine content scans or Facebook’s database of private message URLs. Apple just isn’t collecting as much data as its competitors, and the new systems mean much of the data will be protected in a way that’s legitimately unprecedented within the industry. None of that is a silver bullet, but it’s good news. This, roughly, is how Apple does Big Data: carefully, and with a few tricks no one’s ever seen before.”

Apple’s commitment to your privacy points out “we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy….We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.”  The Apple privacy policy is unique from other cloud services. You will recall that Apple stood its ground on privacy with not giving the FPI access to an iPhone in 2016.

Security

Apple is known for having more secure devices than its competitors. Forbes comments, “While there are drawbacks to Apple’s tight grip over everything that occurs on its OS, there’s no doubt it makes for a more secure environment for casual users.” ZDnet quotes Gartner analyst Dionisio Zumerle as saying, “The majority of enterprises still feel it is easier for them to secure their enterprise data on the iOS platform.” Our report, Enterprise Using Apple iOS Devices and Macsexplains that security is the chief reason enterprise uses more Apple devices than any other platform.

Privacy vs Security

“Americans have long been divided in their views about the trade-off between security needs and personal privacy,” Pew Research Center writes. This same Pew Research report adds, “A Pew Research Center survey in December found that 56% of Americans were more concerned that the government’s anti-terror policies have not gone far enough to protect the country, compared with 28% who expressed concern that the policies have gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties….At the same time, there are other findings suggesting that Americans are becoming more anxious about their privacy, especially in the context of digital technologies that capture a wide array of data about them….The vast majority feel they have lost control of their personal data, and this has spawned considerable anxiety. They are not very confident that companies collecting their information will keep it secure.”

Who do you trust more with your personal data, Apple or some other provider?