With mobile data, security has almost always been a point of contention. Many companies, app developers and manufacturers have faced the wrath of privacy problems and violations. Apple has been no exception to this and has both good and bad sides to it that we’re interested in.
But the average John doesn’t give much thought to all these things. It doesn’t really seem to matter does it?
Frankly, it does.
How Secure Is Your Data?
Take the case of the app Path which was found to be uploading users’ entire Address Book to its servers – which is one of the most serious violations ever. That was a social networking app and in all probability, one can only assume that it was done to access and suggest more friends from the Address Book. While other apps like Facebook do this differently – accessing the information with your permission just once when it is required – there are no clear limits and therefore Path, the social app took a different path.
Apple’s Change of Stance
Apple released something like an iOS Security for Dummies in May. The online document details what Apple’s iOS security consists of in simple terms that don’t scare away the reader. It was a no-fanfare release.
We hear that in iOS 6, every app’s access to private data – which includes photos, contacts, address book, reminders, calendars – will be preceded by a prompt for the user to choose whether to let the app access the data.
“Beginning with iOS 6, Apple will now prompt you before allowing any app to access your personal data. This includes not only your contacts, but calendars, reminders, and photo library as well. In addition to these dialog boxes, iOS 6 also includes a new privacy section where you can manage fine-grain controls over which apps can use your data.”
On a prominent level, this move is quite good.
Apple does think about security like most other companies – and we’d venture out to say that they think about security much more than most other companies because it is of tantamount importance to them: Apple being one of the few companies in the world which has faced too many lawsuits concerning privacy.
However, there are always exceptions and some apps pass through the filters due to unclear terms and ambiguity in policies.
And that’s what results in apps like Path.
But then, take a look at this quote from an article discussing Apple security. Apple sometimes has a way of intimidating too.
“Already, there had been suspicion as well as curiosity about what Apple might be doing in the background with Siri. Apple does briefly note in its legal licensing terms it will do this Siri uploading. But despite calls for more information about how Apple stores and analyzes the voice data it may be collecting this way, Apple hasn’t offered any explanation, which only heightens the ill ease for some.”
Taking Personal Control
As users, we can take personal control of the data that we let out by choosing the apps carefully. The most serious apps to be considered thoroughly and vetted before using them are usually Social Networking type of apps. Those and the ones which have features such as inviting more friends and family into a circle that almost becomes social networking again.