Differential Privacy Stories September 18, 2017

Researchers at three universities have accused Apple of taking an ‘immense risk’ with the security of user data thanks to what they say is a poor implementation of differential privacy.

Differential privacy is a method of allowing Apple and other companies to analyse user data in a way intended to be completely anonymous. Enough noise is injected into the data that it is supposed to be impossible to match any of that data to a specific individual.

However, security researchers have for the second time questioned how well Apple’s implementation works in practice …

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Differential Privacy Stories July 7, 2017

An Apple software engineer recently revealed that Apple is now rolling out its use of differential privacy to cover both web browsing and health data, as it now uses the technique to process millions of pieces of daily information from device users.

Differential privacy has so far flown largely under the radar, so we thought it would be a good time to look at what it does and how it works – and to ask how comfortable you feel about its wider use by Apple …

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Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

Differential Privacy Stories February 2, 2017

When Apple released iOS 10 last September, they pushed in a small change when connecting to wireless networks. Tucked away under the Wi-Fi settings, iOS now warns users when connecting to insecure networks that it exposes a user’s network traffic. The easy answer to this is to simply not connect to public wireless networks, but that’s something that most people will just ignore. If users won’t stop connecting to insecure public networks, they could at least start using VPNs and Apple could make it easy to do that.

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Differential Privacy Stories September 26, 2016

Update (09/28/2016 2:54 PM PDT): Apple has confirmed that when a user opts-in to sending diagnostics & usage data, they are also automatically opting-in to sending data that is then run through differential privatization techniques.

When Apple originally announced the use of differential privacy in iOS 10, it was not without a little controversy. Skeptics from all corners began wondering how private differential privacy could really be when used in a mass deployment in the way that iOS 10 was going to use it.

Apple clarified that the use of differential privacy to collect user data would be opt-in, meaning if a user didn’t want to give into the system they didn’t have to. What Apple never indicated was where this opt-in area would be and what would happen if you decided against it…

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