APPLE CLAIMS TO KEEP YOU
SAFE, BUT CAN IT REALLY?
BY CULLEN THOMAS
Las Vegas declares,
“What Happens on
your iPhone stays
on your iPhone,”
part of a massive
push by Apple to
define the brand as
one that stands up
for your privacy.
You may have noticed the advertising. A TV spot from Apple
“I FEEL A SENSE
AT LIVING IN A
AN ELITE BRAND
SELLS YOU YOUR
AS IF IT WERE A
declares: “There is more privateinformation on your phone thanin your home. . . Your location,your messages, your heart rateafter a run; these are privatethings, personal things, andthey should belong to you.” Asemotive music swells over thoselast lines, I’m not left inspired.
Instead, I feel a sense of dystopia at living in a world where anelite brand like Apple sells youyour own privacy as if it were aluxury commodity. Surely nothing should be more obviously aprivate possession than the rightto possess privacy. Yet, there ismoney to be made in selling privacy, and that is a sure sign thatwe do not own it by rights. Butwhat exactly is Apple selling? I’dlike to discuss a few of the morecommon fears and annoyancesassociated with privacy, as wellas what Apple is doing and whatyou can do to protect yourself.
Ours is the public age—theage of workout-sharing, of foodselfies, of teens using Instagramor Tik Tok to broadcast every dailyexperience. Perhaps it’s no surprise that privacy is evaporating.
But those are all individual choic-
es, moments in life a person
chose to share. A key feature
of a right is the option to waive
it: the right to privacy can be
defined as the right to choose
which parts of your life to make
public and which to keep from
the eyes of others. Oversharing
on Facebook may be a social
faux pas, but Apple cannot stop
you. Law enforcement agencies,
internet stalkers, and advertising
companies all have uses for that
public data, but nobody, including
Apple, can protect you from your
own willful broadcast of details
of your life.
In this public age, your activity is also tracked by machines.
Machines record everything youdo, from websites you visit towhat you write privately in yourdigital journals and notes. If youuse diet, exercise, and healthprograms, then they track whatyou eat, how far you can run, andwhen you last spent intimatetime with a partner. What canthe companies who make thosemachines do with all that data?
This brings us to the first majorannoyance of the public age:advertising.
Here is the heart of Apple’spromise: the information youentrust to your iPhone stays onyour iPhone, and the information
“HERE IS THE
TO YOUR IPHONE
STAYS ON YOUR