With CEO Tim Cook reiterating his company’s commitment to give users more control over their data and privacy earlier this month, Apple has come out with its largest platform security guide ever. Unlike the first version that came out a decade back focusing more on using Apple devices in a business context, the new 200-page guide is a comprehensive treatise on how Apple is protecting its users’ devices and their data across all of our platforms.
The document clearly shows the company’s commitment to privacy, coming right from Cook who has famously termed data privacy a fundamental human right. “Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right and has numerous built-in controls and options that allow users to decide how and when apps use their information, as well as what information is being used,” it highlights.
“Every Apple device combines hardware, software, and services designed to work together for maximum security and a transparent user experience in service of the ultimate goal of keeping personal information safe,” says the introduction of the guide before listing how security is baked into every aspect of the Apple ecosystem from apps to biometrics and hardware at the silicon level. The document is divided into hardware security and biometrics, system security, encryption and data protection, app security, services security, network security, developer kit security and secure device management.
Opening the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection conference earlier this year, Cook had expressed displeasure at how the digital advertising market has been invading personal privacy. “… if we accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated and sold, we lose so much more than data, we lose the freedom to be human. And yet, this is a hopeful new season, a time of thoughtfulness and reform,” Cook had said.
Apple has also been pushing developers on its platforms to reveal why it is collecting user data and where it intends to use it, triggering a standoff of sorts with Facebook.
The document claims Apple has a “dedicated security team to support all Apple products” and provides “security auditing and testing for products, both under development and released”. The team also provides security tools and training, and actively monitors for threats and reports of new security issues, it states.