Apple now lets you see what data it holds about you

Apple has launched a portal for users to see exactly what data the company holds on them. The move is a bid to improve customer perceptions about Apple’s privacy policies during a turbulent time for data privacy in the tech industry.

Primarily seen as a manufacturer of iPhones, MacBooks and Mac desktops, Apple’s business model isn’t dependent on adverts as other large tech firms, such as Facebook, and therefore has managed to avoid heavy scrutiny around its data policies.

Over the past few years, Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google have come under fire for the way data has been monetised, something which Apple has tried to distance itself from. Following a series of privacy-focused updates, users can now use the portal to search for what data the company has collected about them.

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“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” Apple said, on the ‘Privacy’ section of its website. “And so much of your personal information, information you have a right to keep private, lives on your Apple devices. Your heart rate after a run. Which news stories you read first. Where you bought your last coffee. What websites you visit. Who you call, email, or message.

“Every Apple product is designed from the ground up to protect that information. And to empower you to choose what you share and with whom. We’ve proved time and again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of your privacy and security. Instead, they can support them.”

Data can include photos, search history, site bookmarks, calendar entries, App Store purchases and downloads, and whether you have sent your devices off for repair.

On the new privacy page, user’s can download all the data the company has collected from them via iPhones, MacBooks and iPads and delete some or all of it. This follows on from a “Privacy Icon” the company deployed earlier in the year, an interactive tool that lets users see what information the company gathers using applications.

Facebook already offers a similar service that lets you see every piece of information the company holds on you, including 3D facial-mapping data for image recognition purposes.

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This definitive statement on data privacy has naturally brought up the comparison with other tech companies such as Facebook, who has come under heavy scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. When asked what he would do if he was in Mark Zuckerberg‘s situation, Tim Cook responded: “I wouldn’t be in this situation”

Apple says that whether you’re taking a photo, asking Siri a question, or getting directions, you can do it knowing that Apple doesn’t gather your personal information to sell to advertisers or other organisations. However personal information on Apple products has not always been 100% safe.

Earlier this month a high court blocked mass legal action against Google after the tech firm was accused of harvesting data from UK iPhone users between 2011 and 2012.

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