Apple CEO Tim Cook fears “a world where if everybody thinks they’re being tracked all the time, then that will result in people changing their behavior. They’ll begin to think less, they’ll begin to search less, they’ll begin to not express themselves fully. And that narrow world is not one that any of us should aspire to live in.”
In the coming weeks, Apple Inc. will roll out a new privacy feature to the smartphones, tablets and other devices that use its iOS operating system. Privacy updates are usually a bit mundane; important, yes, but not exciting. This one though, which will require apps to get permission from users before tracking their data across other apps or websites, has stoked a storm of controversy since Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple announced it last June.
That’s because the digital advertising industry relies heavily on collecting personalized information about users to deliver targeted ads. It’s a big business, as anyone who has been followed around the internet by an ad for a pair of shoes, can attest. If you decline to be tracked, Apple’s move will restrict access to a string of unique identifying information on your device. Apple will also require the app developer not to use other information — your email or phone number, for instance — to track you…
Dobby: Why did you take that step?
Cook: Because we see a world where if everybody thinks they’re being tracked all the time, then that will result in people changing their behaviour. They’ll begin to think less, they’ll begin to search less, they’ll begin to not express themselves fully. And that narrow world is not one that any of us should aspire to live in.
So this is beyond the law, yes, beyond today’s regulation. My own perspective is this is where the puck is headed. I think people will stop and pause for a minute and see what we’re doing and it’s not something that you would say, ‘Wow that’s really wild.’ It’s something you would probably look at and say, ‘That’s pretty reasonable.’ And I think the regulation will eventually catch up. That’s my prediction.
MacDailyNews Take: Freedom of expression. Imagine that.
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious. — George Orwell