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.
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Why it matters: We've written extensively about the data collection practices of big tech platforms. Media companies make money from free, ad-supported content and, in some cases, reader subscriptions — both of which require some level of data collection. Since we're turning this lens on so many other companies, we want to do our best to turn it on ourselves as well.
As 2019 began, many in Washington and Silicon Valley predicted it would be the year Congress took action on national privacy legislation — but the year is half over, and momentum has seriously slowed.
Why it matters: While members of Congress negotiate behind closed doors on a comprehensive bill that the public has yet to see, state lawmakers are forging ahead on their own.
If you file taxes with TurboTax, use the budgeting app Mint, or run a small business with QuickBooks, Intuit — the parent company of all of these services — knows as much about you as your bank does, if not more.
Why it matters: The company can cross-sell its own products as well as products and services from third parties — like a Capital One Platinum Credit Card or a loan from Lending Club — based on what it knows about you.
Every trip to a doctor's office or hospital adds more information to a deep, comprehensive record of who you are — physically, emotionally and even financially.
Why it matters: Health care data breaches are more common than ever, putting our most sensitive personal information at risk of exposure and misuse.
Apple, Facebook, and Google are all firmly on the record now: they agree that privacy is a good thing, that government should protect it, and that you can trust them to respect it.
The catch: Each company defines privacy differently and emphasizes different trade-offs in delivering it.
The Federal Trade Commission could vote on a settlement with Facebook over the social giant's alleged privacy failures as soon as this week, according to the NYT.
The latest: The New York Times' Cecilia Kang and the Washington Post's Tony Romm have reported on details of the settlement negotiations, including the internal debate over how far a penalty should go.
A settlement between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission likely will not directly restrict the way Facebook tracks and provides user data to certain third parties, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
Depending on how much you shop, watch and read with Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth may know more about you than any other company on earth.
The big picture: Naturally, they know what you've browsed or bought on their main service. They also know what you've asked Alexa, watched on Prime, and read on your Kindle. They know even more thanks to their ownership of Whole Foods, Ring, Eero, Twitch, Goodreads, IMDB and Audible.
Two more lawmakers have joined a Senate effort to craft a bipartisan online privacy bill, but the group still seemed far from releasing legislation as they huddled on Tuesday.
The bottom line: Congress isn't going to move quickly on this issue, even if lawmakers are facing pressure to pre-empt state privacy measures like the one that goes into effect in California next year.