Star made from text. Image from Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/8464323703/)
Privacy… (image from Flickr)

The News: Apple’s best feature is not its latest iPhone or multipurpose watch, it’s the increasingly sophisticated privacy protecting technology it builds into each gadget upgrade.

Privacy principles: User privacy protection has been at the core of Apple thinking from Steve Jobs to current CEO Tim Cook who has said privacy is a fundamental human right.

Privacy in practice: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offer a thin veil of ‘privacy settings’ yet the reality is that tracking, recording and selling of our data is at the core of their business models. Conversely Apple primarily profits from selling hardware and therefore concentrates on providing systems that protect our data from being recorded or monetised.  Apple has also banned products from its app store if the third-party developers are using them to track users’ digital movements. Including behemoths like Facebook and Google.

The future of privacy: Will privacy become a luxury product where only the rich can afford the more expensive (we’re looking at you Apple) privacy protecting products?

Data sharing benefits: Anyone who has used Apple Maps knows it’s an inferior product to Google Maps – precisely because machine learning relies on data and it really is a case of more is better.

Data shaping future behaviours: The aggregation of information can also shape and change our behaviour. Google Maps user generated input assists in real time alerting you to a better path to reach your destination. We are sliding towards life in a ‘metadata society’ where algorithms are shaping the way we behave collectively which then informs the algorithm which changes the information that changes our behaviour… Privacy, what is it good for?

You can listen to Sandra and Kai discussing this and other issues on The Future This Week.

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