What companies know about you

Series / What They Know About You

The future of privacy starts in California

Illustration of a woman with pixelated eyes in vintage style holding pixelated shopping bags
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A landmark privacy law in California, which kicks in Jan. 1, will give Golden State residents the right to find out what a company knows about them and get it deleted — and to stop the company from selling it.

Why it matters: It could effectively become a national privacy law, since companies that are racing to comply with it may give these privileges to non-Californians, too.

Series / What They Know About You

What Apple knows about you

Illustration of a lone figure standing in the center of an Apple shaped spotlight
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple pitches itself as the most privacy-minded of the big tech companies, and indeed it goes to great lengths to collect less data than its rivals. Nonetheless, the iPhone maker will still know plenty about you if you use many of its services: In particular, Apple knows your billing information and all the digital and physical goods you have bought from it, including music, movie and app purchases.

A different approach: But even for heavy users, Apple uses a number of techniques to either minimize how much data it has or encrypt it so that Apple doesn't have access to iMessages and similar personal communications.