User Data Stories October 24, 2015

Earlier this week, Apple stated that it would be nearly impossible for it to access the data on a passcode-locked iOS device running iOS 8 or later. The company also noted, however, that even if it were possible, it would not feel comfortable doing so as to not tarnish the trust it shares with its customers. The Department of Justice has now dismissed that argument, saying that Apple should be required to unlock encrypted data because iOS is “licensed, not sold” to customers (via DailyDot).

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User Data Stories October 19, 2015

Code analytics platform SourceDNA has found hundreds of apps on the App Store that used private APIs to collect private user data, like email addresses and device identifiers, slipping under Apple’s radar in the approval process. The code got into these apps through the inclusion of a mischievous third-party advertising SDK, which secretly stored this data and sent it off to its own servers.

Apple has now verified the SourceDNA report and is removing all of the apps that included the advertising SDK from the store, as using private API calls is a breach of App Review Guidelines. Apple has also patched its approval processes to prevent any more apps that use this technique to make it onto the App Store.

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User Data Stories August 21, 2015

Spotify apologizes for its new controversial privacy policy

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek published a blog post today apologizing and attempting to clarify its recently updated privacy policy that proved to be controversial among some users and press. In the post, Ek explains that updated terms granting Spotify access to more of users’ personal information is only to further customize the Spotify experience and that giving up that data will be entirely an opt-in experience for users:

In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience.

The post goes on to clarify exactly why Spotify is requesting each new type of data and for what it will be used. While most of the data is being used to personalize the listening experience for users, the caveat is that it does reserve the right to share data with advertisers, rights holders, and mobile networks:

Sharing: The Privacy Policy also mentions advertisers, rights holders and mobile networks. This is not new. With regard to mobile networks, some Spotify subscribers sign up through their mobile provider, which means some information is shared with them by necessity. We also share some data with our partners who help us with marketing and advertising efforts, but this information is de-identified – your personal information is not shared with them.

But how does that compare to other music services? Wired put together a good breakdown of exactly what user data competing music services reserve the right to access via their privacy policies. The majority of the services all request similar data, although a few differ on accessing contacts and media files and sharing with third-parties, while others don’t have much disclosure regarding location tracking.

User Data Stories July 14, 2015

Winston Crawford, a former advertising executive, has left Apple to join Drawbridge. The move comes at an interesting time given Tim Cook’s recent comments on user data and privacy.

Drawbridge is a relatively new company which helps marketers track user data across multiple mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. He joined as COO to help expand the tracking technology to new areas like offering the ability for retailers to show the same online shopping cart to a single customer across multiple devices.

What’s interesting about this move is Crawford’s comments about Apple’s way of doing ads. Going back to those thoughts shared by Tim Cook about not being in the business of harvesting user data for profit, and looking at what Drawbridge does, it’s quite a startling contrast between the two. expand full story

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