Following several security concerns over the way in which iOS apps access and record our data — with the recent Path scandal being the most notable — Apple decided to implement some new privacy settings in iOS 6, which allow you to fine-tune how much of your personal data each of your apps has access to.
Every time you open up a new app that wants access to your contacts, calendars, or any other data, you have to give that app your permission. However, one security director believes this approach will annoy iOS users more than it helps them, and that the new privacy settings are designed to protect Apple from lawsuits rather than its users from data theft.
Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle, describes Apple’s new privacy features as a whack-a-mole game, and believes users will despite them:
These dialog boxes are going to be like one of those whack-a-mole games – exactly the kind of thing users despise and ignore completely. This approach adds no value for Apple users, it’s nothing but a CYA for Apple lawyers.
Storms also believes that users are likely to just provide permission to certain apps without even reading the alerts just to dismiss them quickly. In fact, he believes Apple’s new notifications should look more like the mockups at the top of this post.
In some ways, Storms could be right. But unfortunately, his blog post doesn’t suggest any way around this issue, or a way in which Apple could improve its new system to benefit its users.
Personally, I feel Apple’s current implementation is a good one. It’s simple; you don’t have to read through pages and pages of terms and conditions — you just agree or disagree to provide access to your data. And it doesn’t stop there: You can dive deeper into these privacy settings within the Settings app, where you can then specify which apps can access which data. It’s hard to imagine how this process could be easier.
Sure, some users could just dismiss these notifications just to get into their app as quickly as possible. But I’m guessing those users are the ones who aren’t too fussed what’s happened to their data. Those who are more concerned are going to find out how to use iOS 6’s privacy settings properly, and be a little more careful when granting permissions.
What are your thoughts on this?