Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Jul 2012 12:23 UTC
Apple "Back in May of this year, Internet security firm Bitdefender launched an app and service designed to help iOS users get a grip on what the apps installed on their mobile devices may be up to. [...] The app tells owners of iOS devices which applications may be accessing more information than they need, and identifies potentially 'misbehaving' apps, giving users an inside look at all the information app developers can gather about a user. [...] Seems legit, right? Apple doesn't think so. Or at least they have an issue with something behind the app that sparked them to pull it from the App Store this week." That seems odd. Why would they do such a thing? "Interestingly, Bitdefender did share some data that they gathered based on Clueful's analysis of more than 65,000 popular iOS apps so far: 42.5 percent of apps do not encrypt users' personal data, even when accessed via public Wi-Fi; 41.4 percent of apps were shown to track a user's location unbeknownst to them; almost one in five of the apps analyzed can access a user's entire Address Book, with some even sending user information to the cloud without notification." Oh, right. Informing users their data is wholly unsafe? Not on Apple's watch!
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RE[3]: simple solution
by Tony Swash on Sat 21st Jul 2012 09:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: simple solution"
Tony Swash
Member since:

Let's think about this structurally shall we, let's think about business model's, user data, product revenue, and privacy.

On the one hand is a company, Apple, that makes almost all it's money selling actual things to consumers, almost wholly individual rather than corporate consumers. Apple's customers are the people who buy it's things.

On the other hand is a company, Google, that makes almost all it's money selling advertising, advertising whose value is determined by Google's ability to collect data about what people do on their computers, devices and on the internet. Google's customers are those who buy advertising and it's product is data about the behaviour of those who use it's services and a range of free software offerings.

Which business model is more likely to raise issues of user privacy?

Which company, Apple or Google, has just been fined for deliberately and secretly circumventing user privacy settings?

Google's entire business model is based on collecting user information. More worryingly, and deliberately obscured in it's recent financial reports, is the fact that Google's core business is actually deteriorating and has been deteriorating for some time. Which is primarily the reason that Google's has drastically enlarged it's attempts to monetize far more of it's user interaction.

The most important number in Google's quarter? Revenue-per-click was down a whopping 16% year on year. The previous quarter it was down 12% year on year. The one before that down 8% . The dollar paid per click is essentially the price of an ad.

And yet Google's advertising revenue was up. How did they do that? Total ad clicks jumped 42%, because the search results are more and more ads and less and less genuine results. See this graphic comparing a 2008 Google search result vs a 2012 Google search result.

But obviously they can't continue to increase the advertising density indefinitely, which means this is a one-time boost that masks the underlying deterioration of dollar-per-click. Once that's baked into the year on year the problem will be exposed.

By increasing the ad density they are selling the future in exchange for the temporary illusion of prosperity.

So a company whose core business is collecting user data to sell advertising is under strong commercial pressure to sustain a deteriorating revenue base.

Does that bode well for privacy?

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