Who among the technology giants walking planet earth devotes much of their business model collecting personal and private information from unwary and unsuspecting users and customers?
If Google tops your list, you get a gold star. If Facebook is next, then you’re sharper than most knives in the drawer. What about Amazon? Yes, AMZN cares not about user or customer privacy concerns.
What about Apple?
Apple collects information from customers, too, and that data gets used to help build a better ecosystem. What Apple does not do is use such private data as a weapon against customers. Google, Facebook, even Amazon use personal information collection as a weapon.
What is Apple’s weapon. Privacy. Or, rather, the differentiation of privacy vs. those companies that collect information that makes the user part of their product.
What if you could go to every website you visit online and could click a button the get a file that lets you find out all the information that has been collected about you. Google has something like that but you’ll need Google Maps to find it. Facebook’s information about you is incomplete and difficult to find. Amazon just doesn’t care.
Apple launched a new privacy website that lets you find all the data the company has on you
That’s not a surprise and not exactly a new tactic for Apple to highlight, or differentiate, what the company does vs. competitors. Differentiation is a key product marketing component. If Apple makes it easy to see what data has been collected and competitors make it difficult, then you’re likely not to appreciate Google, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, Dell, HP, et al, as much as you appreciate Apple coming down on your side of privacy.
The privacy portal was already tested in the European Union in May, coinciding with the EU’s launch of restrictive privacy legislation called the General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR). The information collected may include data such as calendar entries, photos, reminders, documents, website bookmarks, App Store purchases or support history of repairs to your devices, among other items.
You’ll need to log into the Data and Privacy Portal with your Apple ID. Walk through the steps to mark which information you want to retrieve. Then be prepared to wait. After all, Apple has more than 1-billion customers so there is much to sift through to get yours. It may take a few weeks before Apple lets you know the privacy information is ready.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t like what Apple gives you.
But don’t be disappointed when you get your download and find there’s almost nothing in there. Earlier this year when I requested my own data (before the portal feature rolled out), Apple sent me a dozen spreadsheets with my purchase and order history, a few iCloud logs, and some of my account information. The data will date back to when you opened your account, but may not include recent data if Apple has no reason to retain it.
But because most Apple data is stored on your devices, it can’t turn over what it doesn’t have. And any data it collects from Apple News, Maps and Siri is anonymous and can’t attribute to individual users.
That was my experience, too, but it is comforting to know Apple doesn’t care about collecting personal and private information as competitors, and cares more about managing and protecting such information than competitors.