The same themes should gain at least some emphasis during WWDC 2021, when Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, are sure to highlight the iPhone’s and the rest of Apple’s ecosystem’s numerous privacy-related advantages. This has all been front and centre in recent weeks because of the escalating cold war between Apple and Facebook, with Apple now cracking down on Facebook’s business model, which entails the social network tracking user behaviour through dangerous apps in order to serve up highly relevant ads (at least among iPhone users, who are within Apple’s walled garden).
With Apple’s recent introduction of its own ad unit to the company’s exclusive App Store, which coincided with the Facebook crackdown, at least one observer has referred to what Apple did as “robbing the mob’s bank.” Nonetheless, the iPhone maker’s actions in this area leave plenty to be desired among the most ardent privacy activists, such as the fact that the App Tracking Transparency feature is disabled by default. And when it comes to iPhone app privacy, there are still a number of sad truths that are outside Apple’s control.
Despite Apple’s insistence on maintaining user privacy for the parts of the iPhone experience that it controls, there are still more than enough apps that collect user data – to an extent that the average user is likely unaware of – and use it for a number of purposes that the average user is likely unaware of.
For instance, according to a new analysis from Blissmark, three mobile apps are pretty heinous in terms of creepiness. They are as follows:
♦ Facebook – for understandable reasons, such as how closely the world’s largest social networking firm monitors your off-app behavior.
♦ Mspy – this is “a stalkerware app that markets itself to parents, offering an opportunity to track their child’s online activity … The app monitors iPhone text messages, phone calls, GPS locations, and activity on other popular applications like WhatsApp and Snapchat,” Blissmark states.
♦ Words with Friends – which FTC Guardian recently gave a privacy grade of “D.” Yikes. “This popular app is like a fast game of Scrabble,” FTC Guardian notes, “and it’s great for brushing up on your vocabulary or being humbled by small children. However, it’s from the same developer as Draw Something, so it’s no surprise it has the same privacy worries. However, it goes a step further with the ‘Precise location’ permission. While it does use your location for the game, it also uses it to show you location-based ads.”
Here are a few other notable names, based on a recent report from cloud storage giant pCloud, which compiled a similar list:
LinkedIn and Uber Eats, among others, are among the organizations that share the most data with third-party companies, according to pCloud. They do it to target advertisements to specific people, and because firms want data to do so, these are some of the dangerous apps that are more than willing to supply it.