Apple policies against data collection an advantage in digital health market, Cook says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 27
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday again denounced the practice of collecting user data for monetary gain, saying that the tech giant's policies against such initiatives give it an edge in the burgeoning digital health industry.



In a brief statement to NPR, Cook touched on Apple's Health Records program, which makes medical records portable by allowing users to store -- highly sensitive -- information on their iPhone.

Specifically, Cook contends customers are more apt to trust Apple with their data than rivals like Google and Facebook, tech companies with business models that leverage user information to sell ads. Apple's software and hardware systems are designed to prevent exposure of sensitive data, effectively insulating the company from criticism faced by competitors in recent months.

"People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple," Cook said. "That's a key part of anyone that you're working with on your health."

Rehashing well-trod ground, Cook went on to say that Apple's commitment to user privacy is not simply a marketing tactic to sell more iPhones and iPads.

"It's not the way we look [at] it in terms of advantages," he said. "The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust."

Apple debuted Health Records as part of the Health app for iOS in March 2018. The service interfaces with healthcare provider networks to enable the secure collection and storage of personal medical data on iOS devices, which can subsequently be shared with doctors and practitioners. Following its initial release, Apple opened the Health Records API to developers, heralding the launch of apps that allow users to manage medications and diseases diagnoses, track nutrition plans, participate in research and more directly from their iPhone.

Apple is working to expand the initiative with a broad set of providers across the U.S., and in February announced plans to integrate the feature with institutions working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
watto_cobra

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    Agreed. :)
    Rhythmagicpatchythepirate
  • Reply 2 of 7
    RhythmagicRhythmagic Posts: 47unconfirmed, member
    💪❤️
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    I've switched off all my sharing of data with Apple and developers on all my devices, MacBook, iPad mini, SE. 

    I've deleted all superfluous third-party apps. I only use Apple first-party apps, E.g., Podcasts, Notes, Pages, News, etc.

    I use DuckDuckGo as for search, iTunes for entertainment and iCloud for cloud services.

    I've emailed the few third-party apps I need, i.e., Ting (mobile phone provider) SmartReporter, DropBox, ToothFairy, Brother (Printer) etc., and they've all responded they don't share data with FaceBook or Google!

    Best. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    blah64blah64 Posts: 944member
    I've switched off all my sharing of data with Apple and developers on all my devices, MacBook, iPad mini, SE. 

    I've deleted all superfluous third-party apps. I only use Apple first-party apps, E.g., Podcasts, Notes, Pages, News, etc.

    I use DuckDuckGo as for search, iTunes for entertainment and iCloud for cloud services.

    I've emailed the few third-party apps I need, i.e., Ting (mobile phone provider) SmartReporter, DropBox, ToothFairy, Brother (Printer) etc., and they've all responded they don't share data with FaceBook or Google!

    Best. 
    That's a nice start.  But asking only if they share with fb/goog is only part of the picture.  An important part, no doubt, but not the only concern.  Many companies share with a wide variety of data brokers and others as well.  It would be better to ask (if they'll tell you) ALL 3rd parties that get ANY information about customers, even if "anonymized" (since so-called anonymized data often really isn't anonymous).

    Also, most printers themselves (not even talking about the apps) phone home if you attach them freely to your WiFi network.  Our printers are firewalled from sending ANY information outbound, but that's beyond the typical consumer's ability and printer manufacturers know that and take advantage of it.  Just like all the IoT stuff these days.  I'm looking at you Ring!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    blah64 said:
    I've switched off all my sharing of data with Apple and developers on all my devices, MacBook, iPad mini, SE. 

    I've deleted all superfluous third-party apps. I only use Apple first-party apps, E.g., Podcasts, Notes, Pages, News, etc.

    I use DuckDuckGo as for search, iTunes for entertainment and iCloud for cloud services.

    I've emailed the few third-party apps I need, i.e., Ting (mobile phone provider) SmartReporter, DropBox, ToothFairy, Brother (Printer) etc., and they've all responded they don't share data with FaceBook or Google!

    Best. 
    That's a nice start.  But asking only if they share with fb/goog is only part of the picture.  An important part, no doubt, but not the only concern.  Many companies share with a wide variety of data brokers and others as well.  It would be better to ask (if they'll tell you) ALL 3rd parties that get ANY information about customers, even if "anonymized" (since so-called anonymized data often really isn't anonymous).

    Also, most printers themselves (not even talking about the apps) phone home if you attach them freely to your WiFi network.  Our printers are firewalled from sending ANY information outbound, but that's beyond the typical consumer's ability and printer manufacturers know that and take advantage of it.  Just like all the IoT stuff these days.  I'm looking at you Ring!
    Thanks Blah...I wasn't specific enough in my Post. I did ask them "if they harvest and sell my data." They all replied promptly to my emails. Thanks for the additional info.

    Best Regards.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    blah64blah64 Posts: 944member
    blah64 said:
    I've switched off all my sharing of data with Apple and developers on all my devices, MacBook, iPad mini, SE. 

    I've deleted all superfluous third-party apps. I only use Apple first-party apps, E.g., Podcasts, Notes, Pages, News, etc.

    I use DuckDuckGo as for search, iTunes for entertainment and iCloud for cloud services.

    I've emailed the few third-party apps I need, i.e., Ting (mobile phone provider) SmartReporter, DropBox, ToothFairy, Brother (Printer) etc., and they've all responded they don't share data with FaceBook or Google!

    Best. 
    That's a nice start.  But asking only if they share with fb/goog is only part of the picture.  An important part, no doubt, but not the only concern.  Many companies share with a wide variety of data brokers and others as well.  It would be better to ask (if they'll tell you) ALL 3rd parties that get ANY information about customers, even if "anonymized" (since so-called anonymized data often really isn't anonymous).

    Also, most printers themselves (not even talking about the apps) phone home if you attach them freely to your WiFi network.  Our printers are firewalled from sending ANY information outbound, but that's beyond the typical consumer's ability and printer manufacturers know that and take advantage of it.  Just like all the IoT stuff these days.  I'm looking at you Ring!
    Thanks Blah...I wasn't specific enough in my Post. I did ask them "if they harvest and sell my data." They all replied promptly to my emails. Thanks for the additional info.

    Best Regards.
    Not to belabor this, because you're not only paying attention, but acting on what you've learned, which is better than 98% (made up #!) of people I talk with.

    But when you ask about, or if they respond with stuff like: we don't "sell" your data, those are weasel words.  Maybe these few companies you contacted don't actually sell your data, but that doesn't mean they don't give it away, trade it, rent it, or allow others to access you via indirect use of that data.  It's dirty out there in the data collection world.

    Remember, google will also say they don't "sell your data", and while I have no way to prove it, I believe those words.  However, they do create incredibly detailed profiles of you and sell access to you based on that data.  It allows them to get away with saying that they don't sell or give away that data, but it's still there, and taken advantage of by countless other companies.  The mere fact that it exists also means that it (or portions) will almost certainly be hacked at some point (again), and eventually government will end up with access as well.  I don't think this last part will happen imminently, but eventually it's almost certain to happen, there's just too much value there, and because lawmakers' opinions ebb and flow with political tides, it only takes a single "high tide" to change everything.

    Bottom line is that this amount of personal behavioral data isn't safe for any company to own.

    In any case, you're taking good steps, just want to try to raise your awareness even further because it sounds like you care.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 838member
    As a physician and patient, my ideal future would be for my records to reside on the secure enclave of my iPhone instead of reams of paper on my desk or in a poorly designed and managed clinical or hospital IT system.
    jony0
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