Apple Is Atrocious for Your Privacy
Apple is often perceived as a privacy white knight. A shining beacon of hope in the technology landscape. The one company that truly cares about your privacy. The one company that will go to great lengths to defend it from those who are eager to violate it. Through their flowery marketing and advertising campaigns, they have convinced the most gullible of us that they are different from their competitors. They have convinced us that, unlike other big tech companies, they have no interest in your data and that they have a business model to prove this. All of this is a lie.
Apple also allows third party developers to collect your precise location without disclosing it to you. Normally, developers would have to disclose this practice, but a loophole allows them to circumvent this. So long as they de-identify and coarsen your location, everything goes. As per Apple's own definition, coarse location is information that describes the location of a user or device with lower resolution than a latitude and longitude with three or more decimal places. It is impossible, however, to de-identify your location info as your location, technically speaking, is your identity. The pattern of places you have been to at a given time is unique and numerous studies have proven that anonymous location databases are nothing more than a vain hope. Apple may not want third party developers augmenting their databases with personally identifiable data, but Apple certainly reserves that right for itself. It combines the non-personal data obtained through a variety of technologies with the personal data they already possess. In this sense, they are refusing to hold themselves to the same standards they set for others.
Another popular service that Apple touts as private and secure is iCloud. They flaunt it as being “built with industry-standard security technologies, employs strict policies to protect your information, and is leading the industry by adopting privacy-preserving technologies like end-to-end encryption for your data.” This is more lip service and this stance only applies if users don't back up their data to iCloud. Apple and others can, in fact, have full access to every bit of information you store in iCloud as a back up because Apple possesses the keys to decrypt that information. iCloud is not at all private from Apple, the government or law enforcement agencies. As many security experts have stated, iCloud is just someone else's computer. By definition and when referring to it in the technology sense, the cloud can be a single or multiple servers that can be accessed through the internet. My readers might be thinking, “but didn't Apple at one point plan to support end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for user data in iCloud?” They certainly did and this would have been fantastic for their users because it would have meant that their data would be kept secret (encrypted) until it reaches them. But Apple didn't execute their plan and reneged when the FBI complained that it would prevent them from accessing user data for investigative purposes. Not only that, but Apple willingly complies with government requests for user data. Apple's own transparency report from 2020 shows that they complied with 82 percent of US government data requests.
Despite what they would have you believe, Apple is not your friend. Apple does not care about your privacy. They are a publicly traded corporation that does care about one thing: profit. Do not trust them. Instead, choose and support those that prove they do respect your privacy rather than try to impress and deceive you with superfluous marketing and PR talk.
Signed – He Who Fights for the User