A Day In The Life Of Your Data - Apple

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A Day in the Lifeof Your DataA Father-Daughter Day at the PlaygroundJanuary 28, 2021

“I believe people are smart and some peoplewant to share more data than other people do.Ask them. Ask them every time. Make themtell you to stop asking them if they get tiredof your asking them. Let them know preciselywhat you’re going to do with their data.”Steve JobsAll Things Digital Conference, 2010

Over the past decade, a large and opaque industry hasbeen amassing increasing amounts of personal data.1,2A complex ecosystem of websites, apps, social mediacompanies, data brokers, and ad tech firms track users onlineand offline, harvesting their personal data. This data is piecedtogether, shared, aggregated, and monetized, fueling a 227billion-a-year industry. This occurs every day, as people go about1their daily lives, often without their knowledge or permission.3,4Let’s take a look at what this industry is able to learn about afather and daughter during a pleasant day spent at the park.Did you know?Trackers are embedded inTrackers are often embeddedData brokers regularly collectapps you use every day: thein third-party code that helpsand sell, license, or otherwiseaverage app has 6 trackers.developers build their apps.disclose to third parties theThe majority of popular AndroidBy including trackers, developerspersonal information of particu-and iOS apps have embeddedalso allow third parties to collectlar individuals with whom they dotrackers.5,6,7and link data you have sharednot have a direct relationship.33with them across different appsand with other data that has beencollected about you.1

85 Hundreds of data brokersharvest online and offline data.8One broker collects data on 700million consumers worldwide,creating consumer profiles withup to 5,000 characteristics.9John plans a day at the park with his daughterJohn and his 7-year-old daughter, Emma, are spending the day together. In themorning, John uses his computer to look up the weather, read the news, and check amap app on his smartphone for traffic conditions for a trip to the playground next tohis daughter’s school. During the ride, there are 4 apps on his phone collecting andA study found that in nearly 20%of children’s apps, developerscollected and shared personallyidentifiable information withoutverifiable parental consent.10tracking their location data periodically in the background.17,18,19 After the data hasbeen extracted from the device, app developers sell it to a host of obscure third-partydata brokers that John has never heard of.17,18 Although the location data collected isclaimed to be anonymous, user tracking allows data brokers to match John’s locationhistory from these apps with information collected from his use of other apps.17,20This means information tracked across different apps and from multiple sources isavailable for any company or organization to purchase, and could be used to create acomprehensive profile about him that includes his precise day-to-day movements.3,17 Every hour of every day, billionsof digital ads are shown tousers online, many of which useprofiles compiled from trackedpersonal information to targetconsumers.11,12,13 But there arealternatives: contextual ads arepurchased based on the contentof the page the user is viewing,rather than attributes or pastbehavior of the user.3 Somebusinesses have seen positiveoutcomes from implementingthese privacy-preservingalternatives.14,15,16Emma plays a game on theride to the park60KOn the ride to the playground, John letsJones Family XX.XXBUYhis daughter play a game on his tablet,and she sees an ad for a scooter. And thatwas no accident on the part of the scootercompany. They decided to bid on the adspace for this tablet because they wantedto target people exactly like John – livingin the same city, with his income bracket,and with a young child.3,18,21,22 This ad willfollow John and Emma across differentapps for days, also showing up on multipleapps and websites on his computer andphone.3,23,242

John and Emma take a selfieat the 0101110111100101100Later, at the playground, John and Emmatake a selfie. They play with a photo filterapp, settling on adding bunny ears to thephoto. The filtering app, however, is ableSome apps request access tomore data than is required toprovide their service, such asa keyboard app requestingprecise location access.5ALBU M SJoh n Jones(202) 555 - 0114to access all the photos on the deviceand the attached metadata, rather thanonly the playground selfie.32,33 Johnposts the picture on a social mediaapp. The app links John’s current onlineactivity to a trove of data collected byother apps, such as his demographicinformation and purchasing habits, usingan email address, a phone number or anadvertising identifier.3Social media and ad techcompanies either face orhave paid millions in finesfor using personal informationfor purposes outside thosethey had specified to the userat the time of collection.25,26,27,28A stop at the ice cream shop on the way homeOn the way home, John and Emma stop for ice cream as a treat. John pays forthe ice cream with a credit card, and more information is added to the comprehensive data profile of his preferences: the location of the store and how much hespent.22,34,35 One of the apps that track John’s location is able to observe that Johnand Emma also stopped by a toy store.3 The information about where the familyshopped during the day is passed along to data brokers, who combine it with theknowledge that he has a young child to pepper John’s devices with targeted ads forsugary treats and for the toy store they visited.18Data brokers use the data theyharvest to assign attributesto users and bucket theminto hyper-detailed marketsegments, such as individualswho are “trying to lose weight butstill love bakeries.”29 But theseprofiles are often wrong: a studyfound that over 40% of the attributes are inaccurate.30,313

60KAt the end of the day, a number of companies John has neverinteracted with, all around the world, have updated theirprofiles with information about him and his daughter. Thesecompanies know the location of the family’s house, the parkthey visited, the news websites they read, the products theybrowsed, the ads they watched, their purchasing habits, and thestores they visited.3,36This data was collected and tracked acrossmultiple apps John and his daughter used throughout the day, aswell as from other sources. John had no idea how much data wasbeing collected throughout the day, didn’t always have controlover it, and didn’t knowingly give permission for it to occur.3,4As they search for a kid’s movie on an app in their smart TV tokick back for the evening, the cycle of tracking, data sharing, andtargeting relentlessly continues.37,384

Apple’s privacy principlesApple believes that privacy is a fundamental human right. We design ourproducts and services guided by our four key privacy principles:To learn more about the privacyfeatures Apple has introduced,and the work Apple is doing toprotect users’ privacy, visitapple.com/privacy.Data MinimizationCollecting only the minimumamount of data required todeliver what you need for agiven service.On-Device ProcessingProcessing data on the device,wherever possible, rather thansending it to Apple servers, toprotect user privacy and minimizedata collection.User Transparency and ControlMaking sure that users knowwhat data is shared and how it isused, and that they can exercisecontrol over it.SecurityHardware and software workingtogether to keep data secure.To learn more about how Safariprotects your privacy, read theSafari White Paper.To learn more about how Appleprotects your location data, readthe Location Services WhitePaper.Through those four principles, Apple’s goal has always been to let users sharedata as they wish, in a way that is safe, and that they understand and control.This is the reason why, for the last two decades, Apple has continuously innovated to preserve user privacy through all of our products and services. For example,we employ on-device intelligence and other features to minimize the data that wecollect in our apps, browsers, and online services, and we do not create a singlecomprehensive user data profile across all of our apps and services.5

Apple’s privacy features give John more transparencyand control over his data.The story of John and Emma’s day illustrates the privacy problems and solutions we’re workingon at Apple.John plans a day at the park with his daughterIf John had used the Safari browser to check the weather on his computer, Intelligent TrackingPrevention would have prevented tracking of this activity by default.OFFIf John had used Apple News to read the news in the morning, Apple would have delivered Johncontent based on his interests, without knowing who he is or learning what he read.If John had used Apple Maps to check the traffic, his location data would have been linked to aOFFrandom identifier, which is regularly reset and not linked to John. As a result, no one but Johnwould end up with knowledge of his location.On an iPhone, John would be periodically reminded of which apps are accessing his location inthe background. Before sharing location with an app, John could choose to only share his approx-OFFimate location, or only share his location once.Emma plays a game on the ride to the parkOFFOn an iPad, the upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature would give John a choice as towhether to allow the game to track Emma’s activity across apps and websites owned by othercompanies.OFFJohn and Emma take a selfie at the parkOn an iPhone, John would have had the choice to give the filter app access to only the selfie,instead of the entire photo library.OFFA stop at the ice cream shop on the way homeIf John had bought the ice cream using Apple Card, his bank would not use his transactioninformation for marketing purposes. Had he used Apple Pay, Apple would have used on-deviceOFFintelligence so that John could view his transaction history on his iPhone without Apple obtaininginformation about where he shopped, what he purchased, or how much he spent.At the end of the day, Apple products and privacy features can give John bettertransparency and control throughout the day over how much of his data is shared,and how it is used.6

App Tracking Transparency and the new privacyinformation section on the App StoreApple is taking the next step to protect users’ privacy within the app ecosystem. As a complex and growing set of entities access, track, and monetize personal consumer data, Apple isintroducing two new features aimed at providing users with increased transparency, visibility, andchoice so that they can make informed choices and exert greater control over their privacy.Starting soon, with our next beta update, AppIn addition to requiring user permission forTracking Transparency will require apps to gettracking, Apple also recently introducedthe user’s permission before tracking theirchanges to App Store product pages todata across apps or websites owned by otherincrease transparency. With the new Appcompanies. Under Settings, users will be ablePrivacy section, the App Store helps usersto see which apps have requested permissionbetter understand some of an app’s privacyto track so they can make changes as they seepractices. Each app’s product page is requiredfit. This requirement will roll out broadly in earlyto provide users an easy-to-view summaryspring with an upcoming release of iOS 14,of developers’ privacy practices. The detailsiPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already gar-pages include information on the types ofnered support from privacy advocates arounddata that the app collects, such as photos,the world. In designing this feature, Applelocation, and contact information. The pagessought to give users more transparency andalso provide users with additional details aboutcontrol while continuing to enable advertisinghow each kind of information is used by theas an appropriate and viable means of support-app developer, including whether it is used foring apps and web content. The introduction oftracking, and whether the data is linked to thepast features, such as Safari Intelligent Track-user. All app developers, including Apple, areing Prevention, have shown that advertisingrequired to self-report information regardingcan continue to be successful while enhancingtheir privacy practices.users’ privacy protections. App Tracking Transparency allows users to make more informedchoices about the apps they use and thepermissions they grant to those apps. With AppTracking Transparency, users can now choosewhether to allow apps to track them. For appsthat users trust and provide permission totrack, developers can continue to do so.The addition of app tracking settings and transparency and privacy information on App Storeproduct pages empowers users to more easily learn how their personal data is used, sheddinglight on practices that were previously opaque and hidden, allowing them to take greater controlof their data.Apple will continue to develop innovative privacy technologies and work on new ways to keepyour personal information safe.7

Frequently Asked QuestionsWill I still be able to use the app’s full capabilities if I select “Ask App not to Track”?Yes. App developers cannot require you to permit tracking in order to use the app’s fullcapabilities.Can Apple guarantee that an app isn’t tracking me if I select “Ask App not to Track”?If you select “Ask App not to Track,” the developer will not be able to access the systemadvertising identifier (IDFA), which is often used to track. The app developer is also requiredto respect your choice beyond the advertising identifier. This is required by the policies the developer agrees to when submitting their app for distribution on the App Store — if we learn thata developer is tracking users who ask not to be tracked, we will require that they update theirpractices to respect your choice, or their app may be rejected from the App Store.If I use my social media account to sign into an app, can the social media companytrack what I do in that app?This depends on whether you’ve given the app permission to track you. If you select “Ask Appnot to Track,” then the app should not engage in tracking you across other companies’ apps orwebsites for advertising, or share your information with a data broker. That means they shouldnot provide your information to the social media company if it will be used for that purpose.How does Apple ensure the privacy information on App Store product pages isaccurate?Similar to how Age Ratings work on the App Store, developers report their own privacy practices. If we learn that a developer may have provided inaccurate information, we will work withthem to ensure the accuracy of the information.What is a data broker?In general, a data broker is a company that regularly collects and sells, licenses, or otherwisediscloses to third parties the personal information of particular end-users with whom the business does not have a direct relationship. Data brokers are defined by law in some jurisdictions.8

Sources1. Gröne, Florian, Pierre Péladeau, et al., “Tomorrow’sdata heroes,” Strategy Business, February 19, 2019.2. Reinsel, David, John Gantz, et al., “The Digitizationof the World: From Edge to Core,” IDC, November 2018.3. Competition & Markets Authority, “Online platformsand digital advertising,” July 1, 2020.4. Hitlin, Paul, and Lee Rainie, “Facebook Algorithms andPersonal Data,” Pew Research Center, January 16, 2019.5. AppCensus, “1,000 Mobile Apps in Australia: AReport for the ACCC,” September 24, 2020.6. Binns, Reuben, Ulrik Lyngs, et al., “Third Party Tracking in the Mobile Ecosystem,” Proceedings of the 10thACM Conference on Web Science, 2018, pp. 23-31.7. MightySignal, “Most Used SDKs in Top 200 Free iOSApps,” mightysignal.com/top-ios-sdks.21. O’Reilly, Lara, “New Facebook Tools Help MarketersServe Ads to People Most Likely to Spend Money,” TheWall Street Journal, June 12, 2017.22. Ramirez, Edith, Julie Brill, et al., “Data Brokers:A Call for Transparency and Accountability,” FederalTrade Commission, May 2014.23. Facebook for Business, “Measuring Conversions onFacebook, Across Devices and in Mobile Apps,” August14, 2014.24. Bender, Brad, “New digital innovations to close theloop for advertisers,” Google Ads & Commerce Blog,September 26, 2016.25. Federal Trade Commission, “FTC Imposes 5Billion Penalty and Sweeping New Privacy Restrictionson Facebook,” July 24, 2019.8. State of California Department of Justice, “DataBroker Registry,” oag.ca.gov/data-brokers.26. Chin, Kimberly, “Twitter Could Pay FTC Fine OverAlleged Privacy Violations,” The Wall Street Journal,August 3, 2020.9. Acxiom Corporation, 2018 Form 10-K, filedMay 25, 2018, 8000016/a2018q410k.htm.27. Satariano, Adam, “Google Is Fined 57 Million Under Europe’s Data Privacy Law,” The New York Times,January 21, 2019.10. Reyes, Irwin, Primal Wijesekera, et al., “‘Won’tSomebody Think of the Children?’ Examining COPPACompliance at Scale,” Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Vol. 2018, No. 3, 2018, pp. 63-83.28. Schiffer, Zoe, “Period tracking app settles chargesit lied to users about privacy,” The Verge, January 13,2021.11. Edwards, Jim, “Here’s The Staggering Number ofAds Facebook Serves On Its Exchange Every Day,”Business Insider, November 9, 2012.29. Thompson, Stuart A., “These Ads Think They KnowYou,” The New York Times, April 30, 2019.12. Kim, Larry, “How Many Ads Does Google Serve In ADay?,” Business 2 Community, November 2, 2012.30. Venkatadri, Giridhari, Piotr Sapiezynski, et al., “Auditing Offline Data Brokers via Facebook’s AdvertisingPlatform,” The World Wide Web Conference, 2019, pp.1920-1930.13. Deighton, John, and Leora Kornfeld, “The Socioeconomic Impact of Internet Tracking,” InteractiveAdvertising Bureau, February 2020.31. Leetaru, Kalev, “The Data Brokers So Powerful EvenFacebook Bought Their Data - But They Got Me WildlyWrong,” Forbes, April 5, 2018.14. Norwegian Consumer Council, “Out of Control:How consumers are exploited by the online advertisingindustry,” January 14, 2020.32. Grothaus, Michael, “The top 7 iOS 14 privacyfeatures: What you need to know,” Fast Company,September 16, 2020.15. Davies, Jessica, “After GDPR, The New York Timescut off ad exchanges in Europe — and kept growing adrevenue,” Digiday, January 16, 2019.33. Germain, Thomas, “How a Photo’s Hidden ‘Exif’Data Exposes Your Personal Information,” ConsumerReports, December 6, 2019.16. Edelman, Gilad, “Can Killing Cookies Save Journalism?,” WIRED, August 5, 2020.34. Helm, Burt, “Credit card companies are trackingshoppers like never before: Inside the next phase ofsurveillance capitalism,” Fast Company, May 12, 2020.17. Thompson, Stuart A., and Charlie Warzel, “TwelveMillion Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy,” The NewYork Times, December 19, 2019.18. Nanos, Janelle, “Every step you take: How companies use geolocation data to target you – and everyonearound – in ways you’re not even aware of,” The BostonGlobe, July 21, 2018.19. Vitaldevara, Krish, “Safer and More TransparentAccess to User Location,” Android Developers Blog,February 19, 2020.35. Oracle, “12 Must-Ask Questions to Separate Factfrom Fiction,” s-for-identity-vendors.pdf.36. Hern, Alex, “‘Anonymous’ browsing data can beeasily exposed, researchers reveal,” The Guardian,August 1, 2017.37. Fowler, Geoffrey A., “You watch TV. Your TV watches back,” The Washington Post, September 18, 2019.38. X-Mode, “Data Licensing,” xmode.io/data-licensing/.20. Schechner, Sam, and Mark Secada, “You Give AppsSensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook,” The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2019.9

2 John plans a day at the park with his daughter John and his 7-year-old daughter, Emma, are spending the day together. In the morning, John uses his computer to look up the weather, read the news, and check a

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