This year was eye-opening for many digital consumers, as we watched US Senators stumble through the painful Cambridge Analytica hearing. We reeled in horror as we downloaded all data collected on us by Facebook alone.
Policies must disclose:
- What data is being collected, how it is collected, and uses for the data
- How data is stored, for how long, and steps a user can take to erase collected information
- Clear, comprehensible data collection permissions
Why is Apple just now enforcing these regulations?
CSR (corporate social responsibility) and liability.
Now one year after the giant Equifax data breach, essentially no penalties or punishment have come about from what was irresponsible security and lack of transparency with consumers by the company. So although Apple may be able to get away with displacing responsibility entirely onto developers legally, privacy infringement nevertheless will always be an ethical issue.
- Minimization of information collection. Data should only be taken when essential to functionality of the app.
- Permission settings must be clear and respected. No manipulation of those settings, such as coercion to release data by unnecessarily limiting functionality, is permitted.
- Any data with consent for release may not be repurposed outside of initially stated use.
Although many times digital consumers appreciate targeted ads and personalized online shopping experiences, the collection of our information has always been dangerous. We freely give and save sensitive information to frequently visited sites in order to make our experiences smoother and more efficient. Who here has their bank card linked to their Amazon account?
Data misuse, privacy invasion, and the consequences
Security issues are only part of the concern, however. Wrongly utilizing data can lead to election tampering, intense psychographic targeting, and archives of personal data or photos we wish to keep private. Stored somewhere is a web of our actions online, sites visited, interactions with others, things we’ve said and done, the information we’ve given freely about ourselves without understanding the policies that allow such a cache to build up. Ex Machina anyone?
Apple users will now be able to know exactly what data is being collected and how it’s being used, and how to erase stored data. It’s up to you, the consumer, to ensure you have control over your privacy.