back to article Microsoft ID guru slams 'duplicitous' Apple

Microsoft chief architect of identity Kim Cameron has insisted that the "non-personal information" collected by Apple can be used to personally identify you – despite angry counterarguments from at least one Jobsian fanboi. At a privacy conference in Seattle, Washington, Cameron last week gave a talk that touched on Apple's …

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Silver badge

Privacy policy != privacy

I guess having a privacy policy of "You ain't got any, we know who you are, we know where you live and we know where your children are" is OK, you've clearly express what your policy is.

Reminds me of the most realistic ISO9000 DR plan I ever saw which basically said that in the event of a total disaster the directors would bugger and live on a beach in the Bahamas on the insurance proceeds. I do like a bit on honesty.

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Happy

Honest mission statement

Many years ago I worked for a small ISP where the mission statement was "to make enogh money for the directors to retire to a life of hookers and blow" - I miss that place sometimes.

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Paris Hilton

Word meaning

[[ "non-personal information - data in a form that does not permit direct association with any specific individual," ]]

It all depends on what one means by "direct association." Surely, pulling data multiple times and generating a mode of some values then fetching data from another site mustn't be "direct" to the querying audience member in the story. Perhaps because he doesn't have the app for that.

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Black Helicopters

Because...

Microsoft have such a good track record of protecting privacy.

Anyway, in numerous jurisdictions, reverse search engines for finding telecoms customer details is illegal. I don't see why Apple, or anyone else, should be responsible for other people's illegal activities.

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Illegal?

Maybe for you. But not where I live. For me, it's legal activity. Sorry you don't like it, but you not liking it, and your government not liking it, sure aren't going to stop people and marketing corporations from using the tools they have at their disposal.

Let's remember, too, that this article is about Apple's privacy protections, or lack thereof. You commenting on the policies of Microsoft or Oracle or Wal-Mart or Uncle Jim's Jams and Jellies is clearly irrelevant.

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Anonymous Coward

They're not illegal in the Jurisdiction that Apple is in

An American speaker, speaking at a conference in America, about the Privacy Policy of an American company, and the way a service that is legal in America makes a mockery of the terms of that Privacy policy for the American users of the American companies products.

But that's OK, because it's illegal in China?

Keep drinking the Koolaid.

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Stop

C'mon man

So if Apple published an alert on the net every time you stepped out of your car or left your house unlocked for a second you'd not be at least a little annoyed at them of your car go stolen or your house ransacked?

Seems your post was one part attack on MS (ie irrelevant to the validity of this guy's point) and one part total abdication of sense and corporate responsibility.

C'mon man, make these guys at least work a little to screw you over!

Sent from my HTC Desire :o)

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This post has been deleted by its author

RE: Sent from my HTC Desire :o)

Do I take it from your smiley that you appreciate the irony there?

As if Google aren't collecting as much if not more similar data to Apple.

And before anyone yells: no, that doesn't make either right. Or M$, who would be doing the same thing too if they actually had a phone that sells available.

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Gates Horns

Erm

"I don't see why Apple, or anyone else, should be responsible for other people's illegal activities."

Because their publication of personally identifiable data enables it? It needn't be telecomms customer details anyway - I can legally in the UK search the electoral roll to find out who lives at an address. If I took this data and built an app that informed criminals when iPhone owners are away from home would you think that I shouldn't be responsible for other people's illegal activities?

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Why publish a privacy policy?

To reduce the odds of the company from being sued for mismanaging a user's private data, of course.

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Gates Horns

Remember the 90's and Microsoft FUD

Wow...Microsoft attacking their competitors with FUD. They must really be scared of Apple especially now that Windows Phone 7 is about to go head-to-head with iPhone 4.

I expect to see more attacks from Microsoft and some pretty dirty behaviour from them as the OS & hardware wars of the 90s replay themselves. They fought the dirtiest last time round and I expect similar behaviour this time too.

The fear Microsoft is feeling is entirely of their own making due to sitting on their arses and not releasing any innovative phone software in 7 years. Presumably Microsoft will rely on FUD until they implement the missing major APIs and functionality in a second or third release of WP7.

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Anonymous Coward

Times are a-changin'

"until they implement the missing major APIs and functionality in a second or third release of WP7"

Could you mean things like...

Cut&Paste?

A decent camera?

3G internet?

The ability to install your own software?

The ability to make phone calls?

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Silver badge
FAIL

@Robocat

"Wow...Microsoft attacking their competitors with FUD. They must really be scared of Apple especially now that Windows Phone 7 is about to go head-to-head with iPhone 4."

Whether or not a representative of MS is the most credible source of such criticisms is in fact completely beside the point. The question is whether or not Apple's implementation of their privacy policy deserves the critcism he expressed. The fact that your posting did not contain one word on the subject of the article and the thread suggests that you rather wanted to avoid tackling the topic - why might that be? A more unashamed use of diversionary attacks because one knows that one is on sticky ground would be hard to find.

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FAIL

Hello sock puppet

I'm afraid that whether a representative of MS is the most credible source of information is exactly the point. And your email sounds to me like an apologist for MS hiding behind a personal attack.

I prefer to look to more independent organisations like EFF and Privacy International.

Who's sock puppet are you anyway?

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Silver badge
FAIL

@Robocat with regard to "Hello sock puppet"

"I'm afraid that whether a representative of MS is the most credible source of information is exactly the point."

No it is not. Most intelligent people are capable of understanding the difference between the message and the messenger. Furthermore it is usually regarded as a sign of a lack of genuine ammunition when one descends to the level of such childish personal abuse as such appellations as "sock puppet". I suggest that you reconsider how you conduct yourself in debate. If you are capable of that degree of grownup thinking, which on the basis of that pathetic personal assault I very much doubt.

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Pint

Fixed your typo.

Whether or not a representative of MS is the most credible source of such criticisms is in fact completely beside the point, to the Microsoft fanboi trolls on this site.

Fixed this for you.

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Headmaster

Mr. Cameron just happens to be right ...

Of course he's right to note that, notwithstanding anything Apple may or may not say, the data they collect serve to uniquely define individuals. And of course that's precisely what makes such data valuable, and hence interesting to collect.

The question of who Mr. Cameron is working for is of course totally beside the point. The only thing that counts is what he says, and what he says is accurate.

The data collected by Apple go a lot further than the data collected by Microsoft, simply because Apple collects its data from a phone, not a computer. That matters because a phone contains a lot more data about you than your computer.

Things like: occupation, language, zip code, area code, location, and time zone aren't collected by Microsoft. At most they get an IP address, which is typically a dynamic address provided by an ISP, and a MAC address. They don't get a physical location, and certainly not in real-time. And they can't reconstruct your travel pattern either. Phone operators can. And now Apple has reserved the right tho shop that sort of information about people to whoever they like.

Spot the difference?

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Anonymous Coward

No difference

Microsoft will do exactly the same thing when their phone is released. They will collect exactly the same information. Why do you think they will do anything different?

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Exactly

and this doesn't make it right, in fact it makes it worse. Apple are setting a worrying precedent and in order to keep from losing market share and losing their jobs when Shareholder AGM's come around Google, Microsoft and everyone else in this position will endeavour to do the same.

Taking Apple to task NOW is the first step towards stopping/slowing the complete rape of your private data for corporate gain. At least try and get something for your data rather than just opening the door and saying "Help yourself!".

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FAIL

@No difference

If they were going to do that, they've had the best part of a decade of Windows Phone/Mobile/PocketPC implementations to do it. They haven't. You are fail.

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Jobs Horns

In iPhan's eyes Apple can do no wrong.

iPhans are brainwashed, they believe anything and everything that comes out of Job's or Apples publicity machine.

The proof is in the fact that Lemon 4 had demonstrated defects yet iPhans kept on buying these things, complete with rubber bands to permit them to work.

The biggest risk with almost any smart-phone is data leakage.

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Thumb Up

Let the official term be iPhan

Hereafter!

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Unhappy

crooks

In other news, one crook calls another crook "a crook".

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Gold badge

No point arguing with fanbois

Really, there's no point arguing with fanbois like the one in the audience in the article. Seriously, it could be like:

Researcher: "Apple collects your social security number, bank card number and PIN, and says they can give it to whoever they want for any reason.".

Fanboi: "Well, I'm sure they'd be careful, and besides, using these numbers is illegal so it's not a problem who they give them to".

I even saw fanbois argue, in all seriousness, that it was good *for the customer* (not just for Apple's cash flow) a few years back when Apple shipped wireless-N capable hardware without N drivers, then charged $5 for the N drivers.

What I can't belive is the fanboi argued the GUID is not like a MAC address -- well, of course it is, it's EXACTLY like a MAC address.

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iTards

It's obviously because like most iTards he has no idea what a MAC address actually is.

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Welcome

The zen of litigation-avoidance?

:scratches head:

Hey really sees that much in it?

Ok, maybe at least *that* guy has something genuine going on, at Microsoft HQ. Or he's just confused. I'm not sure which it could be, but *I* don't need to learn more about why, there, at least.

I for one did not welcome the systems-megalomaniacal company as it was....

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Silver badge
WTF?

do what?

that's just gobbleajook, isn't it?

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WTF?

Location

Well, since most people work 7-8 hours per day isn't their most frequented location going to be their place of work? Since I work for a company with a few thousand employees - right next to other companies with similar numbers of staff, knowing my most frequented location isn't going to help identify me... it's going to be "smoker's corner", same location as several hundred other people!

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Thumb Down

So now they know

Where you live and where you work with a high probability of who you work for.

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add to that

Where you like to drink, where you take your girlfriend where you pick up hookers and which is your favourite trap in the loos at work.

At what point does this become too much information? Really, I am interested to know from the people who are not bothered by information about them being collected what is your threshold? I wonder how many thresholds have already been breached or are merely 1,2 5 10 years away!

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Yes! Your location!

You're perfectly correct that for 7 - 8 hours a day, five (I'm guessing) days a week your location will be the same as numerous colleagues and people in neighbouring businesses. But add that to the several hours a day and at weekends where your location is the general area of your home and suddenly you're not so anonymous.

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Anonymous Coward

Where do you sleep?

Most people sleep at home for 6-8 hours per day, and not just on week days. That's probably where and when you work, where you live, and what your shift pattern is. Unless your neighbors work the same place you do that's quite specific.

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See the Google Latitude History Dashboard

Anyone who doubts the ease of mining this information should look at the Google Latitude Location History Dashboard. They can tell me how long I spent at work last week, how long at home, which pubs I visited, ... all through statistical analysis of my location.

Frankly, I don't have a problem with that: but I do want the option to turn it on and off at will.

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Postcode + occupation

That'd be enough to identify me and most of my neighbours.

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Big Brother

Someone had to say it ...

Pot, Kettle, Black.

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Grenade

I must confess

Confession - I used to drink the cool aid - a long time ago. I've had macs for as long as I can remember and still do. back in the 90's I even signed up as an evangelista and for 2 years worked for Apple somewhere in the European Continent. I love macs now not for the GUI, which I just barely tolerate, but because they are based on UNIX and I have a new (past 4-5 years new) afair with linux.

I still like some of the stuff they are producing (Cups - neato as a print specialist wished it was around 8 years ago!) but seriously this policy, the iphone4 antenaegate and general developer nonsense wrt iphone plus many more are more than just annoying - Apple you just plain SUCK and won't be spending any more dosh on your crapware any more.

The fanboi in this case reminds me when I went to a mac user group a couple of years ago. One of their more 'advanced' users was convinced macs were totally safe even when remote exploits had been made public knowledge and replied to me "but it still needs user interaction so it's still the safest platform around".

To demonstrate his naivety I rooted his laptop in about 1 min guessing his password on ssh (unreal but it was macsrule4ever !!) then reset his remote desktop sw to accept vnc, hide connections and then connected as view only while hooking my machine to the projector - looked at him and said oh looks like I have your screen... I didn't expect to get in that quick though as was preparing one of the attacks that had been made public at the time.. Gave me quite a laugh though the whole group got really pissed off with me couldn't care less though not like I'm gonna go to that group again!!.

Grenade cause I'd like to shove it up where the sun don't shine in the vicinity of a certain Jobs character and all those fanbois ..

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Anonymous Coward

superb

great story

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Happy

HA! Only Apple!

These Android phones are looking better and better.

At least i have the option of sharing my location with Google and im not forced to by default

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Careful

I'll probably get down voted for this, but...

This sort of argument is starting to look a lot like the arguments for Macs being more secure than Windows.

Just because Google isn't collecting the information, it doesn't mean that third party apps or the ad services they use aren't.

And just because Android is *meant* to ask you for permission to send that data, it doesn't mean that the third-party apps aren't circumventing that request mechanism in some way and just sending it anyway. Look at the recent stories about apps that use a data connection when roaming, even if that option is turned off in the phone settings.

I'm not defending Apple here, I'm just pointing out that Google, MS, et al are not paragons of virtue either.

There are many good reasons to get an Android phone, but this isn't one of them.

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And the winner is

As long as i can remember, a war between Windows users and apple users has raged.

Now it's a war between apple and everything competing with them.

The common denominator is apple

They cost more than the competition for less features, not really superior at all in that respect

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Silver badge
Happy

@chr0m4t1c

I say this without any hostility chr0m4t1c, but I do not think that anyone on this thread has been saying that other companies would not do the same given the opportunity. I believe that the point here is that Apple have gone further, sooner in this area than other companies. The point being, I believe, that we have to stop the rot now if we can.

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Megaphone

Ha ha ha ha... It's ALWAYS been better, that's why M$ couldn't kill it!

"Not really superior"

Keep telling yourself that. And never try it, or you might change your mind. Just keep using Windoze, tell yourself it's 'good enough.' Very funny.

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Jobs Horns

Louder please

Nicely done by Kim Cameron, but I'd like to see this said a lot more vociferously, a lot more often, and a lot more publicly. The general public lethargy as to just how far Apple (and a host of others) are taking the piss frankly astonishes me. Street view has a relatively low direct impact on most peoples lives and privacy, yet it is the constant target of regulators and the media. Apple gets punters to pay up and sign up to have their every activity analysed till it squeals for mercy, yet the critics seem too blinded by the Jobsian radiance to question what lies beneath the shiny wrapping.

Blair should have got Apple to draft the pre-Iraq war press releases; we'd have all ended up so grateful for his wisdom he'd be PM for life.

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Jobs Halo

I think this may be a bit out of proportion

I don't think Apple have any interest in allowing third party companies to work out who individuals are from collected data, and I'm sure they'd quickly put a stop to that if it was found to be the case.

Furthermore, Apple make it very easy to opt out of this data collection by visiting http://oo.apple.com/ on your iPhone.

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