Sorry I can't talk, I'm being private

4 min read

Georgia Iacovou

07 Jun 2019

This week is WWDC, and Apple are getting super hard for #privacy. Thank you for finally catching up — I’ve been hard for privacy for longer than it takes to read and understand the GDPR. Also, Russia are about to see all those dick pics you have sent and/or received😱

Behavioral advertising actually doesn’t work; everything I’ve ever written is a lie

So far during my time writing for Company, I’ve been sitting on my high horse telling all of you that ad networks are making huge piles of money from knowing that you go to the gym every Tuesday and have a severe allergy to brazil nuts etc. Turns out, this is not true. Excuse me while I get on an even higher horse.

The type of advertising I’m talking about is where ominous tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Quantcast work out what kind of person you are by processing shocking amounts of data about you and people like you, and then serve you devastatingly creepy and timely ads. All in the name of keeping the web ‘free’. Good news: advertisers pay more than double the usual amount for these kinds of ads, and they only make 4% more money than they would from normal ads, which are still annoying and should go away forever.

Does that seem worth it? Paying through the nose to upset all of us with incessant targeted advertising when all we want is to get some extension cables on next day delivery? I mean really now…

Generating money from using data-driven ads

“Oh no, they wont let me be a teacher because I used to use Tinder to establish fleeting, but perfectly healthy, sexual relationships…”

This week Russia ran out of ways to blackmail its citizens so it’s gone and ordered Tinder to hand over all user data. If you live in Russia, you might just have to go back to trying good old fashioned flirting in real life.

It’s okay though because Tinder have their user’s best interests at heart and have refused to cooperate, which will obviously lead to them being proudly banned in Russia like other cool apps, such as Telegram, who refuse to pander to oppressive governments. JUST KIDDING. Tinder have actually registered to be compliant, and haven’t said what they’re going to do next (no data has been handed over yet).

It’s almost as if Tinder have forgotten that you can be #BannedInRussia but still be #UsedInRussia because — I find it weird that I have to keep reminding people about this — VPNs do exist.

🍏 Stop hiding your apples, they’re already private

Twitter has exploded with #wwdc19 and there are apples flying everywhere — but privately. The new Mac Pro looks like a cheese grater and they are (finally) phasing out the worst media player and biggest resource hog known to man, iTunes. But whatever, because privacy:

🗺 Location tracking: Apple have finally somehow grasped that it’s creepy af to follow your every move. They will now make it so that if an app needs your location, you share it with them once and only once. Instead of forever and without you realising. Wow, that is revolutionary a basic human right.

🔑 Apple sign-in: Instead of signing in to an app or service with another tech giant (Facebook, Google), you sign in with Apple. This sounds terrible but they’ve done it a way that maintains privacy: Apple will authenticate you without sharing your data with third-parties. E.g. using Face ID or Touch ID. Also, if you are signing up to something that you’ll probably only use just the once, you don’t need to provide your real address. Apple will give you a random unique ‘relay’ email address — now THAT’S the kind of privacy tea I like to drink.

My only qualm with the Apple sign-in is how it will inevitably cause even more reliance on a single brand/product (Apple), which leads to more of the same problem we already have: large clusters of money and power centralised within the tight grasp of big tech companies.

🧒 Ad-free kid apps: Apple have identified that pre-adults (the more impressionable of the humans) should not be subjected to ugly swathes of targeted advertising. There are now restrictions on what developers can do with third-party ads and analytics in apps that are aimed at children. The restrictions are: none of that shit is allowed.

🎉 GDPR is now a whole year old, and most serious infant in the universe, wow

One year on and where are we? Over 200,000 reported breaches and 56m Euros in fines. Don’t get your cookie banners in a twist over that fine total — 50m of it is from one single fine to Google, earlier this year. Gosh, just imagine if Google didn’t exist…

Gif of man doing maths

the author

Georgia Iacovou

Content Writer