How Will Apple Inc. (AAPL) Collect User Data Without Violating Privacy?

Apple Inc (AAPL) iPhone 7 and Air

Apple Inc. is launching a new technology called Differential Privacy to learn more about its users without compromising individual privacy. The U.S. tech giant said it will not use data to build user profile or keep its users data in the Cloud. The new technology will only help the company’s engineers “spot patterns on how multiple users are using their devices,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, at WWDC’s earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. Apple plans to keep user data anonymous while analyzing how customers are using emojis or new slang expressions on the phone, or which search queries should pop up “deep links” to apps rather than webpages.

Apple Inc (AAPL)

“Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. It [differential privacy] will help the company to improve QuickType and emoji suggestions, Spotlight deep link suggestions and Lookup Hints in Notes,” the company said in a statement.

The iPhone maker noted that iMessage, FaceTime and HomeKit use end-to-end encryption to protect user data by making it unreadable by Apple and others.

Differential Privacy

“The technology works by adding incorrect information to the data Apple collects. This is done in such a way that Apple’s algorithms can extract useful insights while making it very difficult for anyone to link accurate data back to an individual user,” the WJS said.

In the long-terms, differential privacy will allow Apple to keep up with competitors including Google that collect user data more aggressively and use it to improve its services.

Daniel Barth-Jones, epidemiology professor at Columbia University, said that the technology will allow Apple to analyze more data. “They’ve been kind of surpassed by other players who are bigger data collectors—Google would be a good example—in the machine-learning arena and personalization of user interface,” he said.

Apple iOS 10

On Monday, Apple introduced iOS 10, which is deemed to be the company’s “biggest release ever.”  The much anticipated iOS has a lot of upgrades over iOS 9, along with a few great features that some had been expecting for quite some time.

“iOS 10 is our biggest release ever, with delightful new ways to express yourself in Messages, a native app for Home automation and beautifully redesigned apps for Music, Maps, and News that are more intuitive and more powerful, making everything you love about your iPhone and iPad even better,” Federighi said. “iOS 10 adds Siri intelligence into QuickType and Photos, automates your home with the new Home app and opens up Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages to developers — while increasing security and privacy with powerful technologies like Differential Privacy.”

For the first time, Apple is opening Siri to developers who can use SiriKit to easily design apps. The company is also offering redesigned maps in iOS 10. “Now open to developers with new extensions, apps like OpenTable can integrate bookings right into Maps, and services like Uber and Lyft can make it easier for users to book a ride, without ever leaving the Maps app,” the company said.

The company said that iOS 10 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.

Shares of Apple Inc. were down 0.96% as of 11:20AM EDT.

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