Apple is making it clear that they aren’t eavesdropping on you! Ever search for something in particular, or have a conversation about buying a product, and the next thing you know you’re scrolling on Facebook or Instagram and see an ad for that very thing? Well, you aren’t alone!
Many tech users are under the impression that their mobile devices and smart speakers are listening in on their private conversations. Apple was quick to shut that idea down and said they are in no way eavesdropping on you. According to CNN, Apple wrote a letter to federal lawmakers stating that the massive tech company does not by any means listen in on what users are saying, and insisted that any third-party app developers cannot, in any way, access iPhone audio data.
The letter said: “iPhone doesn’t listen to consumers except to recognize the clear, unambiguous audio trigger “Hey Siri”, said Timothy Powderly, Apple’s director of Federal Government Affairs. He continued by saying: “The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amount of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers.”
Apple released this statement after being sent letters from the Energy and Commerce Committee, requesting specific details about Apple’s smartphone data collection practices. Apple CEO, Tim Cook; and Google CEO, Larry Page, were all contacted for information regarding their data collection, and both answering with a resounding “no” to the idea of eavesdropping.
The letters sent out to these billion dollar companies didn’t only inquire about their policies regarding data collection but insisted on knowing information about any limits that Apple and Google place on developers and their ability to collect data from users’ devices.
Many third-party apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and various other social media platforms have also made it clear that they do not collect any form of information from the device users. Powderly also mentioned how: “We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data.”
Although this all sounds very reassuring, it still makes us question just how Facebook ads knew we were looking to vacation in Bali, or take tennis lessons after talking about it. If they aren’t listening in on us, then who is?