Differential privacy


'Differential privacy' Articles

Apple's Privacy Officer Jane Horvath Uses CES Appearance to Defend Company Stance on Encryption and Software Backdoors

Apple's chief privacy officer attended a discussion panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday to debate the state of consumer privacy, marking the first time in 28 years that Apple has been at CES in an official capacity. Apple's privacy officer at CES 2020 panel (Image: Parker Ortolani) Jane Horvath, Apple's senior director for global privacy, joined an all-female panel consisting of representatives from Facebook, Procter & Gamble and the Federal Trade Commission. During the discussion, Horvath defended Apple's use of encryption to protect customer data on mobile devices. "Our phones are relatively small and they get lost and stolen," Horvath said. "If we're going to be able to rely on our health data and finance data on our devices, we need to make sure that if you misplace that device, you're not losing your sensitive data."Apple has held a consistent position regarding its use of encryption, even if that means it has limited ability to help law enforcement access data on devices involved in criminal investigations. Just this week, the FBI asked Apple to help unlock two iPhones that investigators believe were owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who carried out a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida last month. Apple said that it had already given the FBI all of the data in its possession. Apple's response suggests it will maintain the same stance it took in 2016, when the FBI demanded that Apple provide a so-called "backdoor" into iPhones, following the December 2015 shooter incidents in San Bernardino. Apple refused, and the

Here's How Apple Improves the iOS and Mac User Experience While Protecting Your Privacy

Apple has added a new entry to its Machine Learning Journal with in-depth technical details about how it uses differential privacy to gather anonymous usage insights from devices like iPhones, iPads, and Macs. At a high level, differential privacy allows Apple to crowdsource data from a large number of users without compromising the privacy of any individual. There are two types of differential privacy: central and local. Apple has chosen to use the local setting, which means that data is randomized before being sent from devices, so that its servers never see or receive raw data from users. When users set up their device, Apple explicitly asks users if they wish to provide usage information on an opt-in basis. If a user declines, no data is collected by Apple unless they choose to opt in at a later time. The toggle for sending usage information can be found under Settings > Privacy > Analytics on iOS 10 and later and under System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Analytics on macOS Sierra and later. Apple says the data it collects helps to, for example, improve the QuickType keyboard's predictive words and emoji suggestions, and to help identify problematic websites that use excessive power or too much memory in Safari. An opted-in user who types an emoji, for example, may trigger usage information to be collected based on the following process: • The data is immediately privatized via local differential privacy. • The data is temporarily stored on-device using a technology called Data Protection, which is explained on page 11 of Apple's

Apple Says 'Face With Tears of Joy' is Most Popular Emoji in United States Among English Speakers

Apple has revealed that "face with tears of joy" is the most popular emoji among English speakers in the United States. The face topped Apple's list of the top 10 emoji, ahead of a red heart, loudly crying face, heart eyes face, face throwing a kiss, face with rolling eyes, skull, smiling face with smiling eyes, weary face, and thinking face. Apple's chart isn't labeled, much to the disappointment of anyone who was desperately seeking emoji statistics. Apple's list of the top 10 emoji is mostly consistent with public data available from Emojipedia and EmojiTracker, with the skull being an exception, according to Unicode's Emoji Subcommittee vice-chair Jeremy Burge. Apple shared the chart in a recently published overview of its differential privacy technology on macOS Sierra and iOS 10 and later, which allows the company to collect and aggregate anonymized data from a large number of users while preserving the privacy of individual users.The differential privacy technology used by Apple is rooted in the idea that statistical noise that is slightly biased can mask a user's individual data before it is shared with Apple. If many people are submitting the same data, the noise that has been added can average out over large numbers of data points, and Apple can see meaningful information emerge.Apple says it uses local differential privacy to help protect the privacy of user activity in a given time period, while still gaining insight that improves the intelligence and usability of iOS and macOS features such as: • QuickType suggestions • Emoji suggestions

Apple Collecting Browsing Data in Safari Using Differential Privacy in macOS High Sierra

With the release of macOS High Sierra, Apple is now collecting data from the Safari browser using differential privacy technology, reports TechCrunch. Apple is aiming to gain information about browsing habits to help identify problematic websites that use excessive power or too much memory.This form of data collection is the first of its kind for Safari, aimed at identifying sites that use excessive power and crash the browser by monopolizing too much memory. Apple is also documenting the popularity of these problematic domains, in order to prioritize which sites it addresses first.Apple first announced its adoption of differential privacy in 2016 alongside the debut of iOS 10. Differential privacy is a technique that allows Apple to collect user information while keeping user data entirely private. It uses hashing, subsampling, and noise injection to enable crowd-sourced learning without compromising user privacy. Differential privacy is already in use on Mac and iOS devices for emoji use, search predictions, predictive text, and other small features that use machine learning for improvement. Because of this, Apple does not have a specific message about the new Safari data collection when macOS High Sierra is installed, and it is lumped in with the general Mac analytics data notice that is presented when setting up a new Mac. From Apple's Privacy notice regarding analytics:If you agree to send Mac Analytics information to Apple, it may include the following: - Details about app or system crashes, freezes or kernel panics. - Information about events on your Mac