Apple ad campaign to put spotlight on privacy


Apple is set to promote its stand on user privacy and protection of user data on iPhones through advertising, in a first of its kind campaign globally and in India, which will be done through outdoor media, television commercials and social media.

The campaign which will go live in India on Sunday will throw light on the Cupertino-headquartered technology major’s longstanding view that it holds paramount the privacy of its consumers, of their data on iPhones, and has been building products and services around that belief.

“The Indian leg of the privacy campaign will begin from 28 July across out of home (OOH) platforms in Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai, and television advertisements, besides and social media. The television ads will feature a privacy film featured on Youtube,” said a person aware of the details of the campaign.

The move comes at a time when privacy and protection of user data has become the centre point of discussions across governments the world over and more so in India, where the government is thrashing out contours of the Data Protection Bill, the first such for the country.

The proposed bill which talks about data localisation, had entailed that a copy of all personal data be stored in India, while critical information, as the government defines it, had to be mandatorily stored only in the country.

Apple’s messages to consumers through ads will hold a lot of prominence, said analysts, in the light of developments where third party apps end up taking information such as contact lists, photos and videos from users’ phones, sometimes without consent, and monetising from it, if not misusing it.

“iOS is inherently a more secure operating system when it comes to sharing data between different apps and the core phone functions such as text messages, phone app etc. iOS also does not allow core system access to third party apps,” said Amit Jaju, senior managing director at FTI Consulting, an NYSE listed company specializing in forensic research.

Giving an example, Jaju said that an Android phone you can download an app from playstore to record phone calls but on iOS this is not possible unless one jailbreaks the iPhone which is a complicated and tedious process. Similarly apps in Android can read text messages but not on iOS.

The person quoted earlier said that privacy of user data was increasingly becoming a topic of discussion across the world and the company wants to be seen as one which does not want to hold on to any user data that the user does not want to share willingly. As opposed to the likes of Google or Facebook which collect user data, Apple wants the users to have control on their data, and has therefore introduced several features enabling iPhone users to do so.

For instance, in the iOS 13, a new sign-in with Apple feature will be introduced which will let users authenticate their identity using their Apple ID rather than their social or personal account logins for Facebook, Twitter or Google, when signing into an app.

Another feature – called Just Once – allows users to let an app use a customer’s location data only for the time the app is being actively used. This means that the app will ask for permission every time a user opens it, and that no tracking will happen in the background. The new Find My app – combination of Find my iPhone and Find my friends – will find your devices even if they’re offline by using bluetooth.

Apple is also reducing the number of applications on the App Store which get access to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth names to those that only absolutely need this information, since some apps using the WiFi and Bluetooth beacons were learning to track users without their consent. Also, Bluetooth settings and controls are being added to give users the choice to opt for certain apps.

Insiders said that Apple’s internal manual review system weeds out roughly 40% of the apps that apply to be on the App Store, for not meeting norms set by the company which include those on security and privacy.

Some websites have been found to have more than 100 trackers embedded in them which help in tracking user behaviour and patterns without their consent and share it with third parties to create user profiles. To prevent this, the new iOS will block cookies from websites that use machine learning to find domains most frequented by users.