Apple spills some of its secrets in new privacy white papers


Apple exec turned up at CES to talk about the importance of privacy
Apple takes privacy pretty darn seriously.
Photo: Apple

Apple has updated its privacy pages for the fourth year running, continuing to emphasize its focus on user privacy.

For the first time, Apple has also released white papers on Safari, Photos, Location Services, and Sign In With Apple.

The updated privacy pages include details about the privacy and security features found in iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. Since Apple doesn’t publish the code for its OS or software, this information is the best way for people to understand the functionality of these systems.

The white papers make mention of Apple’s increased focus on tools like machine learning. This AI field is one that Apple has placed increased emphasis on in recent years. For example, in the paper on Sign In With Apple, it notes how machine learning algorithms distinguish “ordinary, everyday behavior such as moving from place to place, sending messages, receiving emails, or taking photos.” These actions are given a numerical score, which can help determine whether the creator of an account is legitimate. This is similar to the way that AI spam filters work for email.

Apple’s focus on privacy

Apple’s focus on privacy is one that existed under Steve Jobs. However, it has become a more public focus of Apple’s under Tim Cook’s leadership. That’s largely because developments such as large scale hacks and massive data mining has become more widespread.

Tim Cook has publicly expressed admiration for schemes like Europe’s GDPR guidelines. Maintaining users’ privacy even caused Apple to go to war (not literally) with the FBI over their request that Apple create a backdoor to let them access iPhones.

Last year, Apple introduced a new page that lets users download all the data Apple has on them. The company has claimed that its privacy pages are the most visited part of its website.

You can check out Apple’s newly updated privacy pages here.

Via: TechCrunch