Jobs: iPhone ad SDK changes for user privacy, not anti-competitive

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Changes made to the iPhone SDK which restrict app developers from forwarding private data to advertising analytics companies were made to protect users' privacy, Steve Jobs told interviewers at All Things Digital.



The change supports Apple's existing privacy policy, which was being violated by developers, perhaps unintentionally, when they included ad network code into their apps, which subsequently began to forward private data about the device and the user's location to a third party network.



The change was triggered by reports published by Flurry Analytics, which harvested the data and found evidence of unreleased devices on Apple's campus, which it subsequently published on its website.



Jobs was noticeably agitated about Flurry's ability to remotely monitor devices within Apple's campus, noting that "we were really naive about this stuff," and explaining that the company first discovered the collection of privately identifying information was going on after reading about Flurry's reports of unreleased new iPhones and other tablet devices in the news.



"It's violating every rule in our privacy policy," Jobs boomed. "We went through the roof about this. So we said: No, we're not going to allow this. It's violating our privacy policies and its pissing us off that they're publishing data about our new products.



"So we said we are only going to allow these analytics that don't give device information and therefore are solely for the purpose of advertising," Jobs said. "We're not going to be the only advertiser. There's others, and we're not banning other advertisers from our platforms.



"They can do that. But they can't send data out to an analytics firm who is going to sell it to make money and publish it to tell everybody that we have devices on our campus that we don't want people to know about. That," Jobs said, "we don't need to do."



Jobs acknowledged that there are legitimate uses of data analysis by app developers, if users are appropriately appraised of the fact that their data is being shared. "After we calm down, we're willing to talk to some of these analytics firms," Jobs said. "But it's not today."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,259member
    Perhaps all the hyperbolic blog sites can take off their tinfoil hats and publish retractions for all the paranoia?



    It will never happen.



    If anyone else has a gripe they've got deeper issues that go beyond analytics, in their life.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    how about adding real privacy to browsers? I am tired of getting spam to everyone of my email accounts - when I know for a fact that I did not give anyone permission to use my email for that purpose - and even my son's email - which I do not use for posting on forms or anything - gets spam - and the only place I can think of that it is coming from is some ad on some browser is asking my system to provide an email address. I suppose I should use something like little snitch but that is too far in the other extreme.



    Any software that is going to send any information to anyone - especially if it is not on the screen where you can see it and type it in yourself - should have some sort of alert with opt out or block feature. For example if I navigate to appleinsider.com and the browser is polled for user info from ad.revolver.com (or whatever) there should be no automatic response without explicit user acceptance of the information exchange.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    spotonspoton Posts: 645member
    Quote:

    "It's violating every rule in our privacy policy," Jobs boomed. "We went through the roof about this. So we said: No, we're not going to allow this. It's violating our privacy policies and its pissing us off that they're publishing data about our new products.





    GOOD!



    Apple has been totally LACKING on users privacy for many years now.



    I'm glad they got burnt, perhaps they will think how we feel when they make devices that just let it announce anything on it to anyone.





    What Apple needs to do is a lot of 'What if' scenarios to protect users data and privacy and practice more compartmentalization techniques.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post


    Apple has been totally LACKING on users privacy for many years now.



    Care to explain what that's based on - other than your paranoid fantasies?



    Look at Apple's privacy policy compared to Google or Facebook. Apple is one of the best in the industry when it comes to privacy.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Except the question of competition hinges on what advantage Apple is reserving for itself. It's nice that they won't let other firms collect data. But it's uncompetitive and hypocritical if they are doing it themselves. What I'd like to know is what data is Apple collecting from iAds? After all, nobody else has gone so far as to bake an ad platform into the OS.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Let's contrast this to a Mr. E. Schmidt CEO of google:



    Quote:

    If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”



    Classy....
  • Reply 7 of 48
    asianbobasianbob Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post


    Let's contrast this to a Mr. E. Schmidt CEO of google:







    Classy....



    As much of a brush-off response as that was from Mr. Schmidt, you can't deny that what he says is true.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    As much of a brush-off response as that was from Mr. Schmidt, you can't deny that what he says is true.



    It's only true because of people like him, and clearly points to the need of strong legislation that prevents the kind of activities his company, and others, are engaged in. Privacy is a right, and the law ought to protect against those who would violate it for whatever purposes.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    asianbobasianbob Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    It's only true because of people like him, and clearly points to the need of strong legislation that prevents the kind of activities his company, and others, are engaged in. Privacy is a right, and the law ought to protect against those who would violate it for whatever purposes.



    No disagreements from me that there should be laws to protect our privacy. However, at the personal level, if you don't do something stupid, then there's no dirty laundry to air. Takes the fun out of life, but that's the tradeoff you have to make.



    We do have to take responsibilities for our own actions at some point. We can't rely on laws alone for our privacy. All I'm saying is that we should just think before we act.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    As much of a brush-off response as that was from Mr. Schmidt, you can't deny that what he says is true.



    Yes, there are things that one doesn't want anyone to know because they really aren't good things.



    But there are plenty of good reasons for secrets. One might be sick but doesn't want anyone to know. One might not want others to know their financial status. One might be planning a surprise. One might be playing a sport where deception is a key and accepted part of the sport.



    So Mr.Schmidt's comment is naive. And finally, if what Mr.Schmidt said was completely true, then it's time for Google to shut down it's search and advertising algorithms. And just as well, for Apple to shut down its product pipeline.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jetz View Post


    Except the question of competition hinges on what advantage Apple is reserving for itself. ...



    Apart from the fact that Jobs has stated that the kind of collection going on was a complete violation of Apple's privacy policy, I would say that the way you have worded this is deliberately dishonest, with the obvious intent to imply that the have reserved some advantage for themselves, and will be collecting data that violates their own privacy policy.



    Yes, I know you'll deny any such intent, will state that I can't know what your intent was, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, but it's pretty clear what your purpose is here.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    It's only true because of people like him, and clearly points to the need of strong legislation that prevents the kind of activities his company, and others, are engaged in. Privacy is a right, and the law ought to protect against those who would violate it for whatever purposes.



    True. Claiming otherwise is a bit of circular reasoning that amounts to "you shouldn't expect privacy on the internet because it's not private."



    Which begs the question "why can't we expect or demand privacy on the internet?"



    USAGE NOTE: This is a very rare instance of the correct use of "begs the question", which is a form of logical fallacy meaning "implies the conclusion in the premise, thereby heading off the question", and not, as common practice would have it, "fails to ask some other question that I think is pertinent."
  • Reply 13 of 48
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    As much of a brush-off response as that was from Mr. Schmidt, you can't deny that what he says is true.



    OK. Then Mr. Schmidt should publish all of his account numbers and passwords. After all, he apparently doesn't believe that anyone has any right to privacy on the Internet.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    No disagreements from me that there should be laws to protect our privacy. However, at the personal level, if you don't do something stupid, then there's no dirty laundry to air. Takes the fun out of life, but that's the tradeoff you have to make.



    We do have to take responsibilities for our own actions at some point. We can't rely on laws alone for our privacy. All I'm saying is that we should just think before we act.



    This argument is utter nonsense. People have a right to keep private not only the bad things they do, if any, but also the good and innocuous. Privacy has a value for its own sake, not just to keep from being caught or embarrassed.



    It's also nonsense because even innocuous acts, combined with perhaps a few mistaken 'facts' can lead to negative consequences. One person's "nothing to hide" may become another's "circumstantial evidence". And organizations like Google, who collect every bit of information they can on everyone they can, can easily become sites for "one stop shopping" for those, such as governments, looking for "circumstantial evidence". It's not exactly a state secret that the number of wrongful convictions is much higher than we as a society ought to be comfortable with.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    OK. Then Mr. Schmidt should publish all of his account numbers and passwords. After all, he apparently doesn't believe that anyone has any right to privacy on the Internet.



    And, if Google didn't want the Chinese hacking into their servers, they shouldn't have connected them to the Internet.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    cgc0202cgc0202 Posts: 624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post


    As much of a brush-off response as that was from Mr. Schmidt, you can't deny that what he says is true.



    This is rich. Google adopted its policy as it was because it is the only way it could justify getting as much information about people to make money -- not for any altruistic reason. That has been their strategy from the beginning.



    More recently, when Google attempted to catch up with Facebook with its Buzz networking, it shared information about its Gmail users to other Gmail users. It backed down a bit only because many Gmail users were so against it and the outcry became more controversial when massmedia magnified it further.



    I am aware of Google's privacy stance, that is why I try to avoid using their products, unless I have to.



    I read an article once where a Google user -- I believe after becoming aware of Google/Schmidt policies -- decided to snoop about Schmidt and publisch the information. I don't remember now but I think Schmidt tried to suee the guy or something.



    I am sure Mr. Schmidt was very excited when a Gawker site decided to share with all of us about his mistresses and unusual activities.



    But let's forget about Google, or Schmidt. If you truly believe what you stated, why are you hiding behind a username? Why not include all sorts of private information about yourself? Where were you last night? etc. If you are in a relationship, did you cheat recently on your wife, girlfriend or boyfriend maybe? Tell us where you did the did?



    If we did not want to share, would it be alright for the pharmacy association to share the condom size people use, that perhaps certain people use Viagra, some are taking anti-cancer, anti-hyperttension medication, etc.? Would it be OK if the insurance companies have access to all the biomedical informationn about you and your family? Your employer perhaps legally do that?



    Without any rules on privacy, any or all of those can be gathered very easily nowadays -- with the power of computers, mobile devices and snooping devices.



    With many smartphones and mobile devices now having GPS and other geotagging devices with them, would it be alright to have a website where all public figures whereabouts are displayed? What is the impact on our personal security? Employment security? Or god forbid our inalienable rights to have some privacy?



    Share with us everything that is true about you.



    Unless you can do that freely, it is reckless to state that everything that is true and factual can be shared with the public.



    CGC
  • Reply 17 of 48
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,748member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Apart from the fact that Jobs has stated that the kind of collection going on was a complete violation of Apple's privacy policy, I would say that the way you have worded this is deliberately dishonest, with the obvious intent to imply that the have reserved some advantage for themselves, and will be collecting data that violates their own privacy policy.



    Yes, I know you'll deny any such intent, will state that I can't know what your intent was, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, but it's pretty clear what your purpose is here.



    It was a fair question. If Apple truly believes that the analytics are themselves a problem for user privacy, then they shouldn't be using them either. If they are, then it is an advantage the hold for themselves. Apple may have a great record for protecting our privacy and we may well put our trust in them. But as you have said, that doesn't mean that they always will or that there is no chance some employee within Apple wouldn't maliciously use the data that they have access to. Privacy is privacy.



    It sounds like their main concern with the analytics data is that Apple's data is made public. This is pretty clear by his statement that once they calm down about their info that led to leaks about the iPad being published, they will talk to the analytics firms about granting access. Not once they are sure about user privacy safeguards.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    It was a fair question. ...



    No, it really wasn't. (I realized yesterday that discussion with you is pointless, so I'll just leave it at that.)
  • Reply 19 of 48
    hellacoolhellacool Posts: 759member
    I am all about privacy but isn't brother Stevie going to take this exact data and push it to his new ad company? So no one else can have the data unless it is him. Seems a bit anti-competitive to me.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    It was a fair question. If Apple truly believes that the analytics are themselves a problem for user privacy, then they shouldn't be using them either. If they are, then it is an advantage the hold for themselves. Apple may have a great record for protecting our privacy and we may well put our trust in them. But as you have said, that doesn't mean that they always will or that there is no chance some employee within Apple wouldn't maliciously use the data that they have access to. Privacy is privacy.



    It sounds like their main concern with the analytics data is that Apple's data is made public. This is pretty clear by his statement that once they calm down about their info that led to leaks about the iPad being published, they will talk to the analytics firms about granting access. Not once they are sure about user privacy safeguards.



    and you simply imply what you want here. You don't know but are willing to spread as much FUD as possible. You could have also read this as Apple discovered that their own data was vulnerable, and as a result they were deeply concerned about the average user's data, and whether they were culpable for the data released - BUT that didn't fit into your scheme of casting doubt and implying your FUD now did it.
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