27 September 2023

Ceding power: New Apple tool gives us more power over our data

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Nick Whigham* says Apple has rolled out a new online tool to its Australian customers as it takes aim at rival tech giants in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Apple is giving Australian customers greater insight and control over the data it collects on them.

The tech giant has rolled out an online tool to let you change or delete all the data that the iPhone maker has collected on you.

Apple updated its privacy website with the tool, which was unveiled earlier this year for users in the European Union in response to the region’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Apple will now let users in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand see and download all information that the company has collected on them.

It also gives users a simpler way to make changes to the data, suspend their Apple account or even permanently delete it.

Unlike tech rivals Google and Facebook, which heavily depend on constantly datamining their users to target them with ads, customer data isn’t nearly as fundamental to Apple’s business.

It can tout user privacy, promise not to snoop on or steal customer data, and look like the good guy.

For the most part, it makes money from selling phones and laptops, not ads.

Google and Facebook do allow you to download a lot of the data it holds about you — and it’s certainly a worthwhile exercise.

Now Apple has joined the party, providing the most comprehensive control over your own data.

Apple devices such as the iPhone or Apple Watch collect detailed data about users, such as who they email, call or text message and even biometric data such as heart rates and fingerprints.

But Apple’s practice has been to keep much of that data on the devices themselves and encrypt it with the user’s passcode, meaning that Apple does not possess the data and cannot unscramble it if asked to do so by law enforcement officials.

The new online tool for customers comes after Google and Facebook have been in the headlines for damaging breaches in which consumer data was leaked.

Apple has previously offered this sort of control to customers in different places but brought them together for Europe’s recently enforced privacy laws.

It plans to roll out the same online tool for all users around the world by the end of the year.

* Nick Whigham is news and technology reporter for News.com.au HQ. He tweets at @NWWhigham.

This article first appeared at www.news.com.au.

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