Apple is now providing Privacy-as-a-service

Apple is now providing Privacy-as-a-service 

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On Monday, Apple announced a lot of news at the annual developer conference WWDC 2019, but in terms of the company and its development direction, some of the announcements they issued earlier in the conference may be the biggest indication. Specifically, Apple introduced a new single sign-on (SSO) unified ID platform and will act as an intermediary in a new way to serve security cameras that work with its HomeKit smart home service.

These are not Apple's sudden thoughts: the company has been in the privacy field for at least a few years, and this matter is particularly valued in the Tim Cook era. However, Monday's announcement really clarified how Apple's privacy strategy will work with its transformation to a service company. Apple is becoming a service company, and the main difference between them and other companies is privacy. In addition, Apple is extending this paradigm to third parties, playing a central layer of mediation between users and third-party companies seeking to liquidate through the aggregation of user information.

Apple is really transforming into a privacy-as-a-service company. This is reflected in two things: the introduction of a new single sign-on account service; the update of cameras and location services in iOS 13. The design of the single sign-on account service is particularly smart because it includes a mechanism that allows developers to still maintain the relevant information they need to maintain direct contact with the user—provided the user is willing to join in to have this connection, ie Agree to share their account name and/or email address.

Apple's single sign-on account service also includes an option to create an anonymous one-time email address to create a direct but unique connection with the developer. This means that developers or service providers can still easily communicate directly with users, but it also means they can't profit by selling or sharing user information to other developers or service providers. This completely transfers privacy control to the user, unlike the vendor's lengthy, vague, hard-to-reject and demanding service terms to pretend to provide this "control" to the user.

In addition, Apple's cooperation with camera manufacturers is unique. Apple performs in-device analysis of the footage captured by third-party partners to arrive at results, which are typically provided by security equipment vendors as value-added services. For example, Apple will clearly identify visitors who visit your home, send alerts when it detects strangers, and differentiate between different types of sports.

This goes far beyond protecting user data: Apple has replaced a potential privacy risk with a privacy-focused service that provides support for an entire category of devices.

Similarly, the location services feature in iOS 13 also hands overall control to the user, not the service provider. For privacy-conscious users, it's great to be able to give apps single access to location information. It's also awesome that Apple has started to provide usage reports after the update, which sounds like users will be able to learn more about which applications are using the data.

Other new features, including the HomeKit firewall, which controls specific services and devices, follow a similar tone and may indicate that Apple intends to do more about privacy in the future. Combined with the company's existing efforts, a picture begins to emerge, in which Apple intends to offer a comprehensive consumer service product that is very different from Google and other companies.

This is a bold move, and Apple may end up with a lot of control over user relationships, not only in hardware but also what software providers want to do on their platforms. Considering Apple's history of privacy protection so far, it's not a concern, but we definitely need to pay close attention to one thing, if Apple successfully transferred control, how their business will evolve.

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