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New Apple Ad Throws a Spotlight on Privacy

Apple is touting its strong privacy position in its latest ad, which shows everyday people sharing facts about themselves in the physical world just as they do online, including a guy loudly announcing on the bus that he’s searching for divorce attorneys and a woman informing a waitress exactly when she purchased prenatal vitamins and four pregnancy tests. It’s a funny but telling illustration of how unacceptable we would find it if the data hoovered up by the likes of Facebook, Google, and the many secretive ad-tracking companies were revealed in the real world.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber expands upon Apple’s point in his commentary:

They have zero right, none, to the tracking they’ve been getting away with. We, as a society, have implicitly accepted it because we never really noticed it. You, the user, have no way of seeing it happen. Our brains are naturally attuned to detect and viscerally reject, with outrage and alarm, real-world intrusions into our privacy. Real-world marketers could never get away with tracking us like online marketers do.

Apple released this ad in the midst of a controversy surrounding a new feature in iOS 14 that would make apps ask your permission before tracking you, which has caused the likes of Facebook to freak. Apple recently said it would delay implementing the feature to give developers more time to adjust, but we’re hoping Apple doesn’t bow to pressure from advertisers and remove it entirely.

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