Digital ad agencies aren’t happy about Apple’s new user-tracking notifications

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privacy WWDC
Privacy was a big theme at WWDC.
Photo: Apple

A group of digital advertising associations in Europe have taken issue with Apple’s plan to offer users notifications on which apps track them to offer personalized ads.

At WWDC 2020, Apple announced new tools for iOS and iPadOS that let users better control which apps track them by asking for permission in the form of pop-up messages. The next versions of the iPhone and iPad operating systems will reveal to users what type of data different apps collect. But the digital advertising companies say that this could carry a “high risk of user refusal.”

iOS 14 protects your privacy in important new ways

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During the WWDC 2020 keynote, Apple doubled down on its commitment to privacy.
During the WWDC 2020 keynote, Apple doubled down on its commitment to privacy.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 The next iPhone and iPad operating systems warn you when the microphone or camera is on, let you share your approximate location, and block apps from tracking you. And these are just some of the ways iOS 14 and the iPad equivalent protect user privacy. Apple is clearly working hard to live up to its promise that it regards privacy as a fundamental human right.

Apple should buy privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, analyst says

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DuckDuckGo offers great image search, plus it doesn’t track you.
Great image search, plus it doesn’t track you.
Image: DuckDuckGo

Even though Google pays a hefty sum to stay the default iPhone search engine, an industry analyst suggests Apple should buy rival DuckDuckGo anyway.

That likely wouldn’t be the end of Google and Apple’s cooperation on search, according to AllianceBernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi. But it would strengthen Apple’s bargaining position.

Ireland’s data protection boss questions Apple over Siri privacy

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Siri Lights
How private are your conversations with Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is questioning Apple over privacy concerns raised by an ex-contractor who transcribed users’ Siri requests in an effort to improve the voice assistant’s functionality.

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec this week said Apple should be “urgently investigated” over Siri data collection. It seems that the EU’s data protection authorities are listening.

Senator wants Tim Cook to take personal responsibility for contact-tracing data privacy

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bluetooth-tracing
Senator Hawley is concerned about Apple and Google's privacy for contact-tracing data.
Photo: Apple/Google

Sen. Josh Hawley wants Apple and Google to have some skin in the game when it comes to keeping data private in their joint coronavirus contact-tracing project. Hawley’s idea? That the Apple and Google CEOs — Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, respectively — should take personal responsibility for ensuring the data is kept private.

“If you seek to assure the public, make your stake in this project personal,” the Republican senator from Missouri wrote Tuesday in a letter to Cook and Pichai. “Make a commitment that you and other executives will be personally liable if you stop protecting privacy, such as by granting advertising companies access to the interface once the pandemic is over.”

ACLU wants COVID-19 tracking program loaded with privacy safeguards

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contact-tracing
Privacy groups want to make sure contact tracing technology keeps your data safe.
Photo: MIT Lincoln Lab

The American Civil Liberties Union said Friday it is cautiously encouraged by a commitment to privacy by Apple and Google as they develop Bluetooth-based contact-tracing technology to track the spread of COVID-19.

But the civil liberties group says the two tech giants must resolve “certain important privacy-related questions” key to winning trust from a public growing wary about who sees their data.

Will contact-tracing apps do more harm than good?

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iPhone showing coronavirus that causes COVID-19
Can a tracing app protect your health and privacy.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The world was starting to develop a healthy skepticism for tech companies and their claims of making data privacy a priority. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal seemed to get our attention and we began to understand how easy it is for groups to track our digital lives.

Then COVID-19 spread with bullet speed across the world and now surveillance of our movements to track the virus is sounding to many like a good idea.

Germany and Taiwan crack down on Zoom use by officials

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Zoom video conferencing for Mac
Some countries are worried about Zoom's security.
Photo: Zoom

Germany and Taiwan are cracking down on governmental use of videoconferencing app Zoom amid concerns that it might be too risky to use.

In an internal memo, the German foreign ministry restricted use of the service. The country said security and data-protection weaknesses make Zoom too dangerous to use, according to newspaper Handelsblatt. Taiwan also banned official use of Zoom for the same reasons.