Apple Avoided Talking About Privacy During iPhone 11 Launch Event

Dhir Acharya - Sep 11, 2019, 4:02 pm IST


Although Apple has continuously celebrated its privacy initiatives in recent years, it was surprisingly quiet about the topic during its iPhone 11 event.

Although Apple has continuously celebrated its privacy initiatives in recent years, the company was surprisingly quiet about the topic during its iPhone 11 event early this morning.

Today, millions of eyes were on the one stage where Apple CEO Tim Cook had the chance to address a number of security problems that have happened with the company over the past one year. That includes the most recently discovered iPhone exploit which let hackers target Apple users as well as a bug in FaceTime which turned any iPhone into a mic.

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Apple has just launched the iPhone 11 lineup, but during the event, it hardly mentioned privacy

However, neither did Apple acknowledged those errors nor did it promise better protection in the new iPhones, the company decided to avoid all the issues instead.

Ironically, just eight months ago, it even trolled other tech firms at CES 2019, though it didn’t come, by setting up a gigantic billboard touting how much committed it is to privacy. The message on the billboard said, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”

Apple apparently stuck its foot in its mouth as several reporters showed evidence proving that users’ personal information was collected by third-party apps.

According to a tech columnist at the Washington Post, even when he was sleeping, his iPhone was still communicating with many research companies, marketing firms, as well as personal data guzzlers. He wrote that just over one week, there were about 5,400 hidden trackers tapping into this Apple smartphone, which took control over his phone number, email account, as well as his physical location and IP address.

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The company touted a lot of things, except for privacy

While these incidents didn’t take anyone of us by surprise, this proved that the iPhone maker was trying to mislead consumers into thinking that it treated marketers and third-party apps differently from competitors.

Then we had the bug.

Back in January, Apple had to disable FaceTime features after learning that users could hear the audio of the people they were calling over the app no matter if they picked up or not.  The flaw essentially let users answer another iPhone user’s call for them, without them knowing.

The next month, the company quietly fixed a number of zero-day vulnerabilities which enabled some websites to infect thousands of iPhones for more than two years. It was not until late August that the real influence of the flaws was detailed by Google researchers that found it. Apple denied the impact scale.

At its Tuesday event, while Apple talked a lot about its new software and hardware, it didn’t say a word about privacy except for a few nods when it presented about core features like Face ID.

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