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'privacy' How Tos

How to Delete Siri Audio History and Opt Out of Siri Audio Sharing on HomePod

This article explains how to delete your Siri audio interaction history and opt out of sharing audio recordings with Apple on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. How to Opt Out of Siri Audio Sharing on HomePod How to Delete Your Siri Audio History on HomePod Earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple hired contractors to listen to a small percentage of anonymized Siri recordings to evaluate the virtual assistant's responses with the purpose of improving accuracy and reliability. The Guardian revealed that Apple employees working on Siri often heard confidential details while listening to the audio recordings. Apple was subsequently criticized for not making it clear to customers that some of their Siri recordings were being used to improve the service. Soon after the report, Apple suspended its Siri grading practices and promised users that it would introduce tools in a forthcoming update that would allow them to opt out of sharing their audio recordings. With the release of iOS 13.2 in October, those new tools arrived on iPhone and iPad, allowing users to delete their Siri and Dictation history and opt out of sharing audio recordings. With the release of the 13.2.1 software update for HomePod, the same tools are also available for Apple's smart speaker. It's important to note that HomePod's Siri settings are independent from your iOS device's Siri settings, so if you want to opt out of Siri Audio Sharing and delete your Siri audio history completely, you'll have to disable them separately. The following steps show you how to access these settings on

How to Delete Your Siri Audio History and Opt Out of Siri Audio Sharing

This article explains how to delete your Siri audio interaction history and opt out of sharing audio recordings with Apple on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. How to Opt Out of Siri Audio Sharing How to Delete Your Siri Audio History Earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple hired contractors to listen to a small percentage of anonymized Siri recordings to evaluate the virtual assistant's responses with the purpose of improving accuracy and reliability. The Guardian revealed that Apple employees working on Siri often heard confidential details while listening to the audio recordings. Apple was subsequently criticized for not making it clear to customers that some of their Siri recordings were being used to improve the service. Soon after the report, Apple suspended its Siri grading practices and promised users that it would introduce tools in a forthcoming update that would allow them to opt out of sharing their audio recordings. With the release of iOS 13.2 in October, those new tools arrived. Apple now includes an option on iPhone and iPad that allows users to delete their Siri and Dictation history and opt out of sharing audio recordings. The following steps show you how to do both. How to Opt Out of Siri Audio Sharing Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Scroll down and tap Privacy. Scroll to the bottom of the Privacy screen and tap Analytics & Improvements. If you don't want to let Apple review your recordings, toggle off the switch next to Improve Siri Dictation. Note that you can tap the link under the toggle

How to Use Firefox Private Network to Encrypt Your Web Traffic

Mozilla this week began piloting its own browser-based VPN service, and if you're located in the U.S. you can start testing it for free right away. Called the Firefox Private Network, the service promises Firefox users a more secure, encrypted path to the web that prevents eavesdroppers from spying on your browsing activity and hides your location from websites and ad trackers. In that respect, it won't protect any internet traffic outside of your web browser, but it's a good option if you want to use an encrypted connection on the fly when you're using Firefox on a public Wi-Fi network, for example. As a time-limited beta, the Firefox Private Network is currently free to try, although this does suggest it may become a paid service in the future. You also need to be a U.S. resident logged into your Firefox account using Firefox desktop browser. If you can fulfill those pre-requisites, you can install the private network by navigating to this page, clicking the blue + Add to Firefox button, then granting permission for the network to be added to the browser. Click the door hanger icon that appears at the top-right corner of the toolbar, and you'll see a switch that you can use to toggle the VPN on and off. A green tick in the icon indicates the secure network is active and your browsing activity is being encrypted. Opera browser offers a similar free VPN service that cloaks your web browsing, but with the added benefit that it lets you choose the continent that you want your connection to reside. So if you're looking to access a location-restricted

How to Restrict an App's Location Access in iOS 13

Apple has doubled down on its privacy features in iOS 13, giving iPhone and iPad users a more granular view of how apps access their location information. On Apple devices, the location services that apps can tap into use GPS, Bluetooth, and crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cellular mast locations to determine your approximate location. The good news is that iOS 13 makes you more aware of how often apps are tracking you, as well as their motivation for doing so, and importantly it makes sure you're in control of your data. If an app grabs your location data, iOS may display a popup notification showing you a map with the data that the app has tracked, as well as the specific reason why the app is tracking you, along with the question "Do you want to continue allowing this?" Armed with this information, you'll usually be given three options: Allow While Using App, Allow Once, and Don't Allow. The first option limits the app's access to your location data to when the app is actively being used, the second allows it to track your location just this once, while the third disables location tracking completely. You can expect to see the "Just Once" option appear when you first launch a just-installed app. Otherwise, you can check out how apps on your device are using location services anytime you like by opening the Settings app and tapping through to Privacy -> Location Services. From here, you can change each app's permissions (Never / Ask Next Time /While Using the App / Always) and you'll also learn the reason why an app wants to access your location,

How to Request a Copy of Your Apple ID Account Data

Apple now allows its customers to download a copy of their personally identifiable data from Apple apps and services. This can include purchase or app usage history, Apple Music and Game Center statistics, marketing history, AppleCare support history, and any data stored on Apple servers, including the likes of calendars, photos, and documents. This article outlines the steps you need to take to request a copy of your data from Apple. As of writing, the service is available to customers in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. If you live in a country or region that's not listed above, you can still contact Apple to request a copy of your data. Apple promises to fulfill all data requests within seven days. Bear in mind that the size of the data download depends on the items that you choose to include (iCloud Photo Libraries can be several gigabytes, for example), but Apple will divide it into multiple files to make the download more manageable.

'privacy' Guides

Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for OS X El Capitan

Every time you visit a website you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This article runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on a Mac. It also covers methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your computer. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing an innocent search on your Mac. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on iOS, check out this guide. This guide assumes you are using the latest public release of OS X El Capitan (10.11.6 as of initial writing), which you can check by clicking the  symbol in the menu bar at the top left of your screen and selecting "About This Mac". The version number appears beneath the OS X version name. If you're not up to date, you can download and install the latest version of OS X via the Mac App Store located on the Dock or in the Applications folder. Cookies, Location Services, and Tracking Many websites attempt to store cookies and other web page data on computers used to access online content. Cookies are small data files that can include things like your IP address, operating system, web browser version, the date you last visited the site, as well as any personal information you may have provided, such as your name, email address, and any relevant

Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for iOS

Every time you visit a website on your iPhone or iPad, you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This guide runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on an iOS device. It also covers some methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your iOS devices. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing a simple Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on OS X, check out this guide. The guide assumes you are using the latest public release of iOS 9.3 (9.3.3 as of initial writing). If your device is running an older version, a message should have appeared on the screen that an update is available. Connect your device to a power source and then tap "Install Now" on the message to download the update over the air, or open the Settings app and tap General -> Software Update, and then tap "Download and Install". Alternatively, connect your device to a computer with an internet connection and with the latest version of iTunes 12 installed. Open iTunes, select your device (a device icon should appear just below the playback controls), click "Summary" in the sidebar, and then click "Check for Update" in the Summary screen. Click "Download and Update" if an update dialog

'privacy' Articles

DuckDuckGo's Safari Privacy Browser Extension Now Available for macOS Catalina

Privacy oriented search engine DuckDuckGo today released an updated version of its browser extension for desktop Safari users running macOS Catalina. The launch comes after DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials had to be removed from the Safari extensions gallery following major changes introduced in Safari 12 that made the extension incompatible. From the DuckDuckGo website: As you may be aware, major structural changes in Safari 12 meant that we had to remove DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials from the Safari extensions gallery. With Safari 13, new functionality was thankfully added that enabled us to put it back. Consequently, you'll need Safari 13+ on macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or newer to install the updated version.DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials blocks hidden third-party trackers on websites and features a Privacy Dashboard, which generates a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) information card whenever a user visits a site. The rating aims to let them see at a glance how protected they are, while providing additional options to dig deeper into the details of blocked tracking attempts. While the extension doesn't include private search, DuckDuckGo Search is built into Safari as a default search option, and they work together to help users search and browse privately. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is only available for desktop browsers, however DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is available for iOS and uses the same privacy protection technology.

Apple's Revamped Privacy Site Highlights 'Everyday Apps, Designed for Your Privacy'

Apple today announced an update to its privacy website that touches on various new privacy benefits found in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, watchOS 6, and more. Apple's updated website includes white papers on how the company approaches privacy in Safari, Sign in with Apple, Location Services, and Photos, providing visitors with a deeper insight into the company's privacy mission. The website reinforces Apple's four core privacy principles: minimizing the data collected from users, processing the data on the device when possible, transparency when collecting data and how it's used, and strong device encryption. You can visit the website for yourself at Apple.com/privacy, which is now highlighting iOS apps like Maps, ‌Photos‌, and Messages, and how they each enhance iPhone users' privacy. According to Apple, there are multiple recent privacy and security innovations that it has accomplished with its latest software updates: Contacts: Any notes stored in the notes section of the Contacts app will not be shared with third party applications when they are granted access to the Contacts app. Find My: Apple uses end-to-end encryption to communicate with other Apple devices nearby in order to find lost iPhones and Macs, ensuring that it doesn't know the location of the device or the identity of the device that discovered it. Arcade: No advertising or third-party tracking is ever permitted. Background tracking notifications: ‌iPhone‌ owners now get notifications when apps are using their location in the background, providing them with a chance to turn this feature off. You can

U.K. Court Reinstates Lawsuit Accusing Google of Bypassing Safari's Privacy Settings to Track iPhone Users

An appeals court in London has reinstated a lawsuit filed against Google that accuses the company of unlawfully gathering personal information by circumventing the iPhone's default privacy settings, according to Bloomberg. The collective action, equivalent to a class action lawsuit in the United States, alleged that Google illegally tracked and gathered the personal data of over four million ‌iPhone‌ users in the U.K. between 2011 and 2012. The case was first brought in November 2017 and had been dismissed in October 2018. "This case, quite properly if the allegations are proved, seeks to call Google to account for its allegedly wholesale and deliberate misuse of personal data without consent, undertaken with a view to a commercial profit," wrote Judge Geoffrey Vos in a ruling today, per the report. A similar lawsuit was filed in the United States in 2012, when Google was discovered to be circumventing privacy protections in Safari on iOS in order to track users through ads on numerous popular websites. Specifically, Google took advantage of a Safari loophole that made the browser think that the user was interacting with a given ad, thus allowing a tracking cookie to be installed. With that cookie installed, it became easy for Google to add additional cookies and to track users across the web. At the time, Safari blocked several types of tracking, but made an exception for websites where a person interacted in some way — by filling out a form, for example. Google added code to some of its ads that made Safari think that a person was submitting an

Apple WebKit Team Publishes Website Tracking Prevention Policy

Apple's WebKit team has published a "WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy" that details a range of anti-tracking measures it has developed and the types of tracking practices it believes are harmful to users. Inspired by Mozilla's anti-tracking policy, the document posted to the WebKit blog provides an insight into the anti-tracking features built into Apple's Safari browser that the team hopes to see in all browsers one day. This document describes the web tracking practices that WebKit believes, as a matter of policy, should be prevented by default by web browsers. These practices are harmful to users because they infringe on a user's privacy without giving users the ability to identify, understand, consent to, or control them.Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in iOS 11 and in Safari 11 in macOS High Sierra 10.13 and has been working to develop ITP ever since. For example, in February Apple released iOS 12.2 and Safari 12.1 for macOS, both of which included ITP 2.1 featuring enhancements that block cross-site tracking. The new WebKit policy highlights Apple's continuing efforts to target all forms of cross-site tracking behavior, even if it's in plain view. WebKit will do its best to prevent all covert tracking, and all cross-site tracking (even when it’s not covert). These goals apply to all types of tracking listed above, as well as tracking techniques currently unknown to us. If a particular tracking technique cannot be completely prevented without undue user harm, WebKit will limit the capability of using the technique. For example,

Apple Takes iPhone Privacy Marketing Campaign to Germany

Apple started underlining its privacy stance earlier this year with a billboard marketing campaign that began in Las Vegas and later came to Canada, and this week the company has extended it to Europe. Brought to our attention by Macerkopf.de, the new billboards in both Hamburg and Berlin play on their location, while emphasizing how much importance Apple attaches to user privacy and data protection. Draped across the Port of Hamburg is a long banner-style poster with a picture of an iPhone and an accompanying slogan which translates into English as "The gate to the world. Not to your information." Elsewhere in Hamburg, an ‌iPhone‌ billboard on the side of a property reads, "Reveals as little about Hamburgers as Hamburgers." Meanwhile, in Berlin, a tower block billboard with the same recognizable ‌iPhone‌ image runs with the phrase, "Welcome to the safe sector." All of the posters in Germany round out with the slogan, "Privacy. This is ‌iPhone‌." Apple's Las Vegas billboard, which was put up ahead of CES 2019, played on the well-known tourism saying: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The sign read, "What happens on your ‌iPhone‌, stays on your ‌iPhone‌." Apple has also made privacy-focused ‌iPhone‌ ads that have been aired on various TV markets around the world. The embedded video above is Apple's German privacy ad. Apple has long said it believes privacy is a "fundamental human right," and as part of that, it aims to minimize its collection of customer data and disassociate it from an individual user when it does. The tech company

Apple Debuts New Privacy-Focused iPhone Billboards in Canada

Apple has debuted two new billboards in Canada that underline the company's privacy stance, following a similar privacy-focused marketing campaign in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show back in January. New Apple billboard outside Sidewalk Toronto HQ: “We’re in the business of staying out of yours.” pic.twitter.com/I24iAxkXzZ— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) 3 July 2019 The new billboards were spotted in Toronto and shared on Twitter by Matt Elliot and Josh McConnell. The first one has been put up right outside of Sidewalk Labs – a Google-owned company – and includes a slogan which reads: "We're in the business of staying out of your business." The second billboard located in King Street simply reads "Privacy is King." Oh I get it. It’s because it’s on King Street pic.twitter.com/3s8dCD6xC4— Josh McConnell (@joshmcconnell) 28 June 2019 This year, Apple has been heavily promoting its privacy focus compared to other tech companies like Google. Apple's Las Vegas billboard, put up ahead of CES 2019, played on the well-known tourism saying: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The sign read, "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your ‌iPhone‌." Apple was reminding the tech industry of its heavy emphasis on privacy, with the billboard offering up a link to Apple's dedicated privacy website. Apple has also made privacy-focused iPhone ads that have been aired on various TV markets globally. For example, one ad starts with the tagline "privacy matters" and then shows a variety of humorous if not slightly awkward situations where people would want

OpenID Foundation Claims 'Sign In with Apple' Could Expose Users to Security and Privacy Risks

At WWDC 2019 earlier this month, Apple announced Sign In with Apple, a new privacy-focused login feature that will allow macOS Catalina and iOS 13 users to sign into third-party apps and websites using their Apple ID. The feature has been largely welcomed as a more secure alternative to similar sign-in services offered by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, since it authenticates the user with Face ID or Touch ID, and doesn't send personal information to app and website developers. However the implementation of Sign In with Apple has now been questioned by the OpenID Foundation (OIDF), a non-profit organization whose members include Google, Microsoft, PayPal, and others. In an open letter to Apple software chief Craig Federighi, the foundation praised Apple's authentication feature for having "largely adopted" OpenID Connect, a standardized protocol used by many existing sign-in platforms that lets developers authenticate users across websites and apps without them having to use separate passwords. Yet it cautioned that several differences remain between OpenID Connect and Sign In with Apple that could potentially put users' security and privacy in jeopardy. The current set of differences between OpenID Connect and Sign In with Apple reduces the places where users can use Sign In with Apple and exposes them to greater security and privacy risks. It also places an unnecessary burden on developers of both OpenID Connect and Sign In with Apple. By closing the current gaps, Apple would be interoperable with widely-available OpenID Connect Relying Party software.To

Telegram Messenger Service Suffers Cyberattack Originating From China

The CEO of messaging service Telegram has suggested that a recent cyber attack on the encrypted chat platform was the work of the Chinese government as part of an attempt to disrupt use of the app to coordinate ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Telegram founder Pavel Durov said the messaging service experienced a "state actor-sized" distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack yesterday and this morning after "garbage requests" flooded its servers and disrupted communications. DDoS attacks typically work through the use of botnets – often operating on hijacked computers infected with malware – which bombard servers with redundant requests to prevent them from processing legitimate requests. We’re currently experiencing a powerful DDoS attack, Telegram users in the Americas and some users from other countries may experience connection issues.— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) June 12, 2019 Most of those requests came from IP addresses originating in China and appeared to be coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong, founder Pavel Durov said in a later Twitter post. Protesters in the hundreds and thousands have been marching through Hong Kong's streets this week in opposition to a controversial law that would allow people in the city to be extradited to China. Chinese state media have condemned the protests, which they claim is being motivated by outside forces and risks undermining social stability in the region. This isn't the first time apps have been blocked in Hong Kong. In 2014, China's cyberspace administration cut access to Instagram during the

Apple and Other Tech Giants Condemn GCHQ Proposal to Eavesdrop on Encrypted Messages

Apple and other tech giants have joined civil society groups and security experts in condemning proposals from Britain's cybersecurity agency that would enable law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted messages (via CNBC). British Government's Communications HQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire In an open letter to the U.K.'s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), 47 signatories including Apple, Google and WhatsApp urged the U.K. eavesdropping agency to ditch plans for its so-called "ghost protocol," which would require encrypted messaging services to direct a message to a third recipient, at the same time as sending it to its intended user. Ian Levy, the technical director of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, and Crispin Robinson, GCHQ's head of cryptanalysis, published details of the proposal in November 2018. In the essay, Levy and Robinson claimed the system would enable law enforcement to access the content of encrypted messages without breaking the encryption. The officials argued it would be "relatively easy for a service provider to silently add a law enforcement participant to a group chat or call," and claimed this would be "no more intrusive than the virtual crocodile clips," which are currently used in wiretaps of non-encrypted chat and call apps. Signatories of the letter opposing the plan argued that the proposal required two changes to existing communications systems that were a "serious threat" to digital security and fundamental human rights, and would undermine user trust. "First, it would require service providers to

Apps Are Using Background App Refresh to Send Data to Tracking Companies

When Background App Refresh is enabled, some iOS apps are using the feature to regularly send data to tracking companies, according to a privacy experiment from The Washington Post that explores the relationship between apps and tracking companies. The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler teamed up with privacy firm Disconnect and used specialized software to see what his iPhone was doing and when. And while it's no surprise that apps are using trackers and sharing user data, the frequency with which apps took advantage of background refresh to send data off to tracking companies is surprising, as is some of the data shared. Fowler found that apps were sending data like phone number, email, location, IP address, and more.On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my ‌iPhone‌. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.Apps that were found passing data along included Microsoft OneDrive, Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Weather Channel, DoorDash, Yelp, Citizen, and even The Washington Post's own iOS app. Citizen shared personally identifiable information that violated its privacy policy (the tracker was later removed), and Yelp was sending data every five minutes, something the company later said was a bug. During the course of a week of testing,

Craig Federighi Responds to Google's Subtle 'Luxury Good' Dig About Apple Products and Privacy

In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that "privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services," a comment that some viewed as a dig at Apple. Craig Federighi at WWDC 2018 Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi has unsurprisingly disagreed with that position. In an interview with The Independent, he said that Apple aspires to offer great product experiences that "everyone should have," while cautioning that the values and business models of other companies "don't change overnight.""I don't buy into the luxury good dig," says Federighi, giving the impression he was genuinely surprised by the public attack. "On the one hand gratifying that other companies in space over the last few months, seemed to be making a lot of positive noises about caring about privacy. I think it's a deeper issue than then, what a couple of months and a couple of press releases would make. I think you've got to look fundamentally at company cultures and values and business model. And those don't change overnight. "But we certainly seek to both set a great example for the world to show what's possible to raise people's expectations about what they should expect the products, whether they get them from us or from other people. And of course, we love, ultimately, to sell Apple products to everyone we possibly could certainly not just a luxury, we think a great product experience is something everyone should have. So we aspire to develop those."Federighi emphasizes Apple's commitment to

Instagram Website Flaw Exposed Users' Phone Numbers and Email Addresses

A security researcher found a flaw in Instagram's website that caused thousands of users' email addresses and phone numbers to be exposed online for several weeks, it was revealed on Thursday. David Stier, a data scientist and business consultant, told CNET the website source code for some Instagram user profiles included the account holder's contact information whenever it loaded in a web browser. Although the contact information was available in Instagram's mobile app if users chose to reveal it in their profile, it was never displayed on the desktop version of the Instagram website, so it's unclear why the details were exposed. The leaked contacts are said to have come from thousands of accounts belonging to private individuals, including minors, as well businesses and brands. Stier alerted Instagram to the problem shortly after discovering it in February, and the photo-focused social platform issued a patch in March. According to Stier, including the details in the source code could have let hackers scrape the data from the website relatively easily and use it to compile a database listing the contact information of thousands of Instagram users. A similar data haul may have already occurred. On Monday it was revealed that a database containing contact information for millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities, and brand accounts had been leaked online. The records included public data pulled from Instagram, such as profile picture, biography, and follower numbers, but also private contact information like phone numbers and email addresses.

Apple Shares New 'Inside Joke' Privacy-Focused Video Highlighting iMessage Encryption

Apple today shared a humorous new privacy-focused video on its YouTube channel, which is designed to highlight the end-to-end encryption feature in the Messages app. In the minute-long video, a woman is at a nail salon getting a pedicure, and she's receiving iMessages and cracking up at them over and over again. The viewer is never given a look at what she's seeing that's so funny, which emphasizes the fact that messages are private. The end of the video features the tagline "iMessage encrypts your conversations because not everyone needs to be in on the joke." Apple has shared several other privacy-focused videos in recent months, including a "Privacy Matters" spot and a video that highlights limited ad tracking in

Facebook Harvested Email Contacts of 1.5 Million Users Without Their Consent

Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their knowledge or consent and used the data to build a web of their social connections, it emerged today. Business Insider reports that Facebook began collecting the contact lists in May 2016 when new users opened a new account on the social network. Image via Business Insider The harvesting occurred when users were offered email password verification as an option to verify their identity when signing up to Facebook, a method widely condemned by security experts. In some cases if users did enter their password, a pop-up message would appear informing them that it was "importing" their contacts, without even asking their permission to do so. These contacts were then fed into Facebook's database systems and used to build a map of users' social links and inform recommended friends on the social network. It's not clear if the data was also used for ad-targeting purposes. In a statement given to Business Insider, the company said that these email contacts had been "unintentionally uploaded" to Facebook when users created their account. It also said that prior to May 2016, it offered an option to verify a user's account and voluntarily upload their contacts at the same time. However, the feature was changed and the text informing users that their contacts would be uploaded was deleted, but the underlying functionality was not. Facebook says at no point did it access the content of users' emails. We estimate that up to 1.5 million people's email contacts may have been uploaded. These contacts

Mozilla Launches Petition Urging Apple to Reset Interest-Based Ad Identifiers on Monthly Basis

Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, today launched a petition urging Apple to reset the unique IDs used to serve interest-based ads in the App Store and Apple News apps on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV on a monthly basis. Mozilla takes aim at Apple's recent iPhone privacy ad in a blog post:Apple's latest marketing campaign — "Privacy. That's ‌iPhone‌" — made us raise our eyebrows. It's true that Apple has an impressive track record of protecting users' privacy, from end-to-end encryption on iMessage to anti-tracking in Safari. But a key feature in iPhones has us worried, and makes their latest slogan ring a bit hollow. Each ‌iPhone‌ that Apple sells comes with a unique ID (called an "identifier for advertisers" or IDFA), which lets advertisers track the actions users take when they use apps. It's like a salesperson following you from store to store while you shop and recording each thing you look at. Not very private at all.These identifiers can already be manually reset under Settings > Privacy > Advertising on iOS devices and under Settings > General > Privacy on ‌Apple TV‌, but Mozilla is asking for "a real cap" with an automatic monthly reset to make it "harder for companies to build a profile about you over time." "If Apple makes this change, it won't just improve the privacy of iPhones — it will send Silicon Valley the message that users want companies to safeguard their privacy by default," wrote Ashley Boyd, Mozilla's VP of Advocacy. Interest-based ads in the ‌App Store‌ and ‌Apple News‌ app are based on information such as your ‌

Apple Says 'Privacy Matters' in Humorous New iPhone Ad

Apple today shared a new privacy-focused iPhone ad on its YouTube channel. The ad will premiere tonight and air through March Madness in the United States before expanding to select other markets globally. The 45-second video starts with the tagline "privacy matters" and then shows a variety of humorous if not slightly awkward situations where people would want their privacy protected in everyday life. In one scene, for example, two men briefly pause their conversation while a waitress is at their table. "If privacy matters in your life, it should matter to the phone your life is on," the ad concludes. "Privacy. That's ‌iPhone‌." The ad arrives around six weeks after a major FaceTime bug was uncovered that allowed one person to call another person over FaceTime and listen to that other person's audio without the call being answered. Apple fixed the bug in iOS 12.1.4 and apologized, but it certainly wasn't good for its reputation. Apple similarly promoted its privacy stance with a billboard near CES 2019 in Las Vegas that read "what happens on your ‌iPhone‌, stays on your ‌iPhone‌." Bugs aside, Apple really does place an emphasis on privacy, especially compared to some other tech giants like Facebook. Apple has long said it believes privacy is a "fundamental human right," and as part of that, it aims to minimize its collection of customer data and disassociate it from an individual user when it

Apple Registers PrivacyIsImportant.com Domain Name

Apple has registered the domain name PrivacyIsImportant.com, according to a WHOIS record discovered by MacRumors. The records indicate that Apple took possession of the domain name on Monday. The record's contact information now lists Apple Inc. as the organization, complete with its address, phone number, and domains-related email. The registrar is CSC, a firm that protects domain names for large corporations. The domain name does not yet point to an active website, so it's unclear if or how Apple will use it, but it is certainly possible the company could be planning a privacy-focused marketing campaign along the lines of its "what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone" billboard at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Apple has always been committed to privacy, which it believes is "a fundamental human right," but a marketing campaign could help reassure customers of that position after a major FaceTime privacy vulnerability surfaced in late

Austrian Privacy Watchdog NOYB Accuses Apple and Others of Failing to Comply With GDPR in Europe

Austrian non-profit organization NOYB, the "European Center for Digital Rights," has reportedly filed a complaint against Apple and seven other tech companies for allegedly failing to comply with GDPR in the European Union. NOYB said it tested each company's compliance with GDPR by requesting private data held about 10 users and found that "no service fully complied." "Many services set up automated systems to respond to access requests, but they often don't even remotely provide the data that every user has a right to," said NOYB founder Max Schrems. "This leads to structural violations of users' rights, as these systems are built to withhold the relevant information." Other companies named in the complaint include Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, and three more, according to Reuters. GDPR was implemented in May 2018 and gives European Union residents the right to access any personal data a company has stored on them. The regulation led Apple to launch a Data and Privacy portal that allows its customers to download a copy of any data associated with their Apple ID account that Apple maintains.

Data Broker Acxiom Comes Out in Support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's Call for US Data Privacy Regulation

One of the biggest ad data brokers has come out in support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's call for federal privacy legislation to regulate the collection and use of personal data in the United States. In a statement Thursday evening provided to Business Insider, data broker Acxiom confirmed its support for federal privacy legislation. "Acxiom, like Mr. Cook, also supports a national privacy law for the US, such as GDPR provides for the European Union," it read. A data broker acts as a middleman, transferring user data between different companies and parties. In his TIME op-ed yesterday, Cook called such an entity "a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer." In a message consistent with Apple's policy that privacy is a "fundamental human right," Cook railed against this market for user information, which he said operates in a "shadow economy" that's largely unchecked, "out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers." Responding to Cook's clarion call, Acxiom said that it had been "actively participating in discussions with US lawmakers" for years but denied that it partook in a "shadow economy" that operates unchecked. We agree that we must root out the nefarious players in the ecosystem, and Acxiom’s data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) process ensures we don’t do business with questionable companies. We look forward to working with people across the industry, including Apple, to ensure transparency, access and control is available to all people.In his TIME op-ed, Cook argued for the creation of a

Tim Cook Urges U.S. Congress to Pass Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation in Op-Ed

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday introduced the American Data Dissemination Act, legislation that would require the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to submit detailed recommendations for privacy requirements that Congress can impose on tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The bill is intended to address the lack of a single, comprehensive federal law regulating the collection and use of personal data in the United States with clear protections that consumers can understand and the FTC can enforce. Well timed with the news, Apple CEO Tim Cook has penned an op-ed for Time Magazine calling on Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation in the United States. He also challenges companies to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. In the op-ed, Cook said he believes "data broker" companies that collect, package, and sell personal information should be required to register with the FTC and provide critical transparency information to the agency, and that consumers should have the power to easily access and delete that data if desired. "Right now, all of these secondary markets for your information exist in a shadow economy that's largely ­unchecked," wrote Cook. In 2014, the FTC published a report stating that "data brokers collect and store a vast amount of data on almost every U.S. household." Of the nine data brokers it examined, the FTC said one had a database with "information on 1.4 billion consumer transactions and over 700 billion aggregated data elements."