Apple is extending its increasingly prominent push for privacy with a dedicated website for its features, ahead of a keynote speech to a gathering of privacy commissioners in Brussels.
The company’s chief executive Tim Cook will be speaking at the 40th annual international conference of data protection and privacy commissioners in Brussels on Wednesday, 24 October.
His speech will almost certainly open with the company’s new favourite tagline: “At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.”
Apple advertises itself to consumers based on its privacy stance, while earning the frustration of advertisers it blocks from collecting data on users.
Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that advertising technology firm Criteo said that Apple’s privacy features were costing it millions in revenue.
Apple collects plenty of data: its watches note your heart rate after a run, its laptops can see which news stories you read first, and Apple Pay knows where you bought your last coffee.
However, in a direct challenge to the data-gathering business models of Facebook and Google, Apple said it wants to minimise how much of that data it collects and uses – and doesn’t intend to sell it to advertisers or other organisations.
In the coming weeks, the company intends to launch Group FaceTime, offering end-to-end encryption in FaceTime chats (including groups of up to 32 people).
Another Apple privacy tool stops social media widgets on web pages following browsers around the web.
Intelligent Tracking Prevention now stops share buttons and comment widgets being exploited by data-gathering companies to track users’ internet browsing – and looks set to put Apple on a collision path with companies like Facebook and Twitter, which use these widgets to collect data for advertising.
Other methods that advertisers use to track web users across the internet such as browser fingerprinting, in which configuration settings are used to identify people, are also being tackled by Apple.
Sky News’ technology correspondent Rowland Manthorpe said: “As the most valuable company in the world – which produces both its own hardware and software – Apple is in a good position to deal with the growing concern about technological surveillance.
“It can generate revenue from sales of devices, rather than by exploiting the increasing amounts of data those devices generate.”
(c) Sky News 2018: Apple launches privacy website ahead of EU speech