Apple Collecting Browsing Data in Safari Using Differential Privacy in macOS High Sierra

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    With the release of macOS High Sierra, Apple is now collecting data from the Safari browser using differential privacy technology, reports TechCrunch. Apple is aiming to gain information about browsing habits to help identify problematic websites that use excessive power or too much memory.
    Apple first announced its adoption of differential privacy in 2016 alongside the debut of iOS 10. Differential privacy is a technique that allows Apple to collect user information while keeping user data entirely private. It uses hashing, subsampling, and noise injection to enable crowd-sourced learning without compromising user privacy.

    Differential privacy is already in use on Mac and iOS devices for emoji use, search predictions, predictive text, and other small features that use machine learning for improvement.

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    Because of this, Apple does not have a specific message about the new Safari data collection when macOS High Sierra is installed, and it is lumped in with the general Mac analytics data notice that is presented when setting up a new Mac. From Apple's Privacy notice regarding analytics:
    While users are given the option to turn off analytics when setting up a Mac, there's also a Security and Privacy setting that can be accessed to turn it off any time. To get to the feature, click on the Apple at the top of the menu bar, and choose "System Preferences." From there, open up Security and Privacy, select the "Privacy" tab and then choose Analytics to choose whether or not to share data with Apple.

    Article Link: Apple Collecting Browsing Data in Safari Using Differential Privacy in macOS High Sierra
     
  2. Populus macrumors 6502a

    Populus

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    So, if I disable the "send analytics" option while configuring the mac for the first time, all this data will not arrive to Apple, right?
     
  3. blackcrayon macrumors 68000

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    I'm usually in favor of opting out of stuff like this - but if it helps them fix those runaway Safari processes that use up all my RAM, I'm all for it.
     
  4. BWhaler macrumors 68030

    BWhaler

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    Well done Apple.

    We can have technology advances and privacy. Don’t let the spyware that is google and Facebook tell you otherwise.
     
  5. farewelwilliams macrumors 68020

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    #5
    "Differential privacy is already in use on Mac and iOS devices for emoji"

    gotta hide the use of the eggplant emoji, right?
     
  6. Kabeyun macrumors 68020

    Kabeyun

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    Good. Anonymized data to fix browser performance on troublesome web sites. Still an opt out for the paranoid, but I think I’ll plan on leaving this one on.
     
  7. kuwxman, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2017

    kuwxman macrumors 6502a

    kuwxman

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    Apple does it. "Oh, its ok." "I'm going to leave it on." "Good for them." Google does the same thing? "Oh. My. God. They are selling my information to the aliens."
     
  8. chucker23n1, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2017

    chucker23n1 macrumors 68020

    chucker23n1

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    It's almost as though the two have completely different business models, one of which hinges on analyzing and profiting off your personal data, and the other of which does not.
     
  9. mariusignorello, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2017

    mariusignorello macrumors 68000

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    Well because what Apple and Google do with your data are two different things. So yes, it is a different scenario.
     
  10. Duane Martin, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2017

    Duane Martin macrumors 6502

    Duane Martin

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    Wow, are you ever missing the point. Google sells to anyone, not just aliens.
     
  11. BaltimoreMediaBlog macrumors 6502a

    BaltimoreMediaBlog

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    "TimMAY!! What have you done now?" says Momma!

    "Oh, ok. Good boy. you saved it all in Al Gore's lock box. You get a treat." :D
     
  12. questionmark32 macrumors regular

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    Okay. As long as it's private/anonymous, I'm good with it
     
  13. Rigby macrumors 601

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    As long as opting out is possible, I see no problem. Microsoft demonstrates how not to do it (you can't turn analytics off in Windows 10 unless you happen to have the enterprise version, which isn't available to individuals).
     
  14. samden macrumors member

    samden

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    I feel like Apple shouldn't have to seek out rogue sites to prevent the whole browser from crashing. The other major browsers make each tab it's own process to prevent this very problem...
     
  15. mdelvecchio, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2017

    mdelvecchio macrumors 68040

    mdelvecchio

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    yes except this is completely anonymous, not tied to me, and is used for system reliability rather than selling to advertisers. yeah same thing, sure....
     
  16. SvenSvenson macrumors regular

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    Well, if you're doing that because you don't trust Apple's statement that the data is truly anonymised, then why trust the little switch that says "Don't send data to Apple"?
     
  17. atikalz, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2017

    atikalz macrumors regular

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  18. Tech198 macrumors G5

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  19. 69Mustang macrumors 604

    69Mustang

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    Different how? As far as I can tell they use customer data for the exact same things.
     
  20. Tech198 macrumors G5

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    That's why i don't believe it even if it is hashed..

    Apple brings out privacy type stuff masking to try and say 'its not that bad because its done in a certain way'...... That's fine, if you know that you know you are still giving it up anyway.. but the concept of "differential" to isolate the actual data itself gets more to light than privacy itself.. regardless. With the whole 'differential' i think we are more likely to loose focus on the fact we are still giving info up, doesn't matter how its hashed, secured or what..

    Thing is, If you know you are giving it up regardless, then you make that choice.. But the fact its 'differential' also means we will be happily give "more" of it up, because we don't know.
     
  21. datiecher macrumors newbie

    datiecher

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    Safari has had per-tab process isolation since version 7. The article's author is just speculating what Apple could do with this information. FWIW, since WebKit's move to this new architecture, I can't really remember having a website related crash that resulted in me having to restart Safari.
     
  22. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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  23. datiecher macrumors newbie

    datiecher

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    You do understand that the word differential from the term differential privacy is not Apple's marketing speech, but actually the term coined by the researches who created this field back in 2006, right? This is not simply smoke and mirrors on Apple's side, but an understood process to anonymize data and Apple has stated in multiple occasions that there's no way to tie that data back to an existing user.
     
  24. jackson01442 macrumors newbie

    jackson01442

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    Well Google is by definition an advertising company. Ever wonder why they give away Google Docs and stuff for free? They tie you into their ecosystem and sell your data. Apple uses your data to better their OS and it is not for personalized results, rather overarching fixes, like preventing Safari from crashing, giving everyone better word predictions, etc. Apple doesn't even run an advertising network anymore, only the App Store ads which are served to everyone equally.
     
  25. 69Mustang macrumors 604

    69Mustang

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    Welcome to the site. Long time members know that neither Apple nor Google sell your data. We also know that Apple and Google use your data to better their OS and services. We even know that Apple and Google use your data for advertising purposes since we know that to get out of targeted advertising from either company you have to opt out.

    My question was rhetorical, btw. I was being snarky. Both companies use customer data for the same reasons.
     

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