iOS differential privacy

Discussion in 'iOS 10' started by Hanterdro, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. Hanterdro macrumors member

    Hanterdro

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    Nov 23, 2014
    #1
  2. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    There is only 1 way that you can keep your device from sending any information about you to Apple or worse your cell provider or any of the dozens of apps you have installed. That would be to cut it off and throw it away. Also if overly worried you can.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Hanterdro thread starter macrumors member

    Hanterdro

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    Nov 23, 2014
    #3
    I asked about if there is a possibility to disable it, not for your opinion.

    However, think what if means when Apple start to scan what you are typing with the keyboard (for QuickType) and your personal notes. If you don't see a problem with this I can't help you.

    /1984
     
  4. lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    Oct 12, 2014
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    #4
    No you can't disable it. The whole purpose OF IT is that it doesn't know information about YOU but is still able to collect data as it sees the bigger picture through millions of devices. It never knows who you are or even if the data it gets is true. (Your phone might say it saw a 0 when it actually saw a 1)

    I'm sorry but you're just overly paranoid.
     
  5. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    #5
    You are suffering from irrational fear. The data is randomized, anonymized, aggregated (so it means Apple CAN'T identify what you are typing on the keyboard) and will even be deleted after a period of time.

    On the other hand cell phone provides have almost unlimited information gathering abilities that is NOT randomized, aggregated, anonymized or deleted. They have a complete history of every place you visit. They even know where you are right now. They have your credit history and personal information. They can tell were you shop, where you sleep, where you work (even your schedule), what you do for fun, what your life choices are and...... the list is endless with the information they gather and store.

    Now I could move on to Google and then Facebook and then Tweeter and then........where you personal information is NOT aggregated, anonymized or deleted either.

    If you don't see the NON problem with this I can't help you.:D
     
  6. GreyOS macrumors 68030

    GreyOS

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    #6
    To expand further on the example federighi gave in an interview, for learning new words, words you enter are occasionally hashed, and a single bit is taken from it and sent to Apple with its location in the word. To clarify what a bit is, a single character has between 8 and 32 bits in it. So a single bit is only a fraction of a character, and a much smaller fraction of a whole word. Not only that but when selecting the bit, sometimes it gives the wrong value. A bit is either 0 or 1 so occasionally it will be completely wrong. On top of that it's anonymous. It has been mathematically proven that it's impossible to work out with any confidence what a given individual has written, either from one sample or multiple.

    However, when you put all this information together across the millions of people supplying data, patterns emerge in the aggregation.
     
  7. KALLT macrumors 601

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #7
    Anonymous or not, it would have been decent to offer a toggle to turn it off. Apple isn’t paying for the data and ought to ask for permission if they want to collect data that serves their own self-interest first. In addition, only Apple knows the exact implementation and it cannot be audited by anyone.
     
  8. macfacts macrumors 68000

    macfacts

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    Cybertron
    #8
    Apple has your credit history and personal history from Apple pay and credit check when you do the monthly payment plan.

    Apple tracks where you are physically (look up consolidated.db ios), where you drive and park (new Apple maps feature copied).

    Apple knows what you do for fun (https://www.google.ca/search?q=touch+id+80+times+a+day)

    Also the news stories of differential privacy all say it is theoretical and no one has done it before, meaning statisticians and scientists say it is possible but depends on how the software is made. You trust Apple to make bug free software?
     
  9. Hanterdro thread starter macrumors member

    Hanterdro

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    #10

    Yeah, I know this option. Have it always inactive :) But I'm asking if this option disables the "differential privacy" spy, too. Or if it's an always on like lagwagon suggests. I'm a little bit surprised that Apple didn't mentioned on the keynote that there is an off button for this "feature".
     
  10. Creek0512 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 15, 2012
  11. Bathplug macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #12
    So is apple collecting more data than it did in ios 8 and 9 or just collecting it differently?
     
  12. lchlch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    #13
    The data is collected is such a way that it's mathematically impossible to trace the source of the data. So I don't really see the point in worrying about it.
     
  13. sj4ever macrumors newbie

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    Nov 10, 2011
    #15
    Do you ever use Google or FB? Ever being served "personalized ads"? :)
     
  14. thebro20 macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2014
    #16
    I seem to get served personalized ads on here!
     
  15. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Atlanta
    #17
    Again people are silly with their irrational fears when they are usually misplaced too boot. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  16. thebro20 macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2014
    #18
    I'm not worried about anything, I'll was just stating that I get the personalized ads:)
     
  17. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

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    Sep 8, 2003
    #19
    From my reading of the architecture, Apple Pay only involves Apple servers if you are paying within an app, versus using NFC. In that way, Apple is acting as a merchant network, much like networks that serve local stores. Authorization of NFC payments is done entirely via EMV which includes the bank and card network, and merchant network, but isn't looping Apple into the process at that point.

    You do know that DB is a local cache so your phone doesn't need to ping external servers to do things like wifi-based location pinpointing nearly as often, yes? They stupidly left it plaintext in backups which does leak private information, but the DB itself is local to make it harder to track (since fewer lookups require updating the cache) without access to the DB itself via an exploit or physical access. And even with access to the DB, until more recent versions (popular places, etc) they didn't get anything interesting beyond general areas that the phone has been, and in many cases, I can get more out of your address book, such as a specific location of your home and work, which popular places will only roughly hit a lot of the time.

    Now, if people are noticing that the phone home packets are delivering this information over to Apple, then that's another matter. But the DB itself is kept local specifically to make such tracking harder, not easier.

    Yup, this part is called "telemetry" or "usage data and diagnostics" depending on what the company calls it. This is not a new practice, and you can turn it off (if you are paranoid, I assume you already have it turned off, I hope). But in general, the goal is to collect aggregate data that tells you how devices are used in a general sense. Having specific users' data is actually not all that interesting, but knowing that 80% of your users interact with a feature that you thought would be niche is useful for targeting future work. Even more so if you find out what errors people are actually hitting most (not just crashes). And it only requires a representative sample of the larger community to work, so there's no reason to leave this stuff on if you don't like the idea of carrying around the software equivalent of a Nielsen Box. Because when you turn that button on, that is what you are doing, turning your phone into a Nielsen Box.

    Well, the math behind the concept is fairly sound, and the concept itself is fairly interesting. It is still a step in the right direction beyond "Hey, let's harvest your information for these suggestions, no matter how identifiable it might wind up being" and only giving you the option to say "yes/no" to having identifiable details being sent back.

    But yes, bugs here could be bad. I would hope they would black box test the module or architect it so that if we are doing predictive word guesses, the input is always something like "1 word" and the output is "a dozen words, one being the input, the other 11 being random words". It's harder to introduce a privacy breaking bug that way when the inputs and outputs are strict. Something like this is also "tunable" in the sense that you can decide how much trends will stick out over the noise. Tune it more towards privacy, and you will miss more subtle aggregate trends. Tune it more towards seeking out as many aggregate trends as it can, and you lose privacy.

    Either way, I do hope that Apple offers a switch (or ties it to the usage/diagnostics switch) for features that rely on differential privacy, for those that aren't willing to jump into this particular world head-first.
     
  18. Julien, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016

    Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
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    Atlanta
    #20
    I know and my post was not meant towards you. It just gave me a perfect opportunity to point out how the silly 'tin foil hat' people (like the OP) 'fearing' Apple tracking are being tracked by 20 or more tracking bots every time they click on MacRumors (or any other site) to express their worry of being tracked. :D Irrational Fear

    USA Today 22 tracking bots, 9 to 5 Mac 24 tracking bots:eek::D:D:D

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #21
    I think you've made your point. The OP is capable of appreciating your point of view, can you pay him/her the same respect? I'm also curious about this topic but you're trolling the thread for some unknown reason.
     

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