Apple Means It About Privacy; Data Licensing Scandal Hits Colleges

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Privacy As Product

Who reads privacy policies? Maybe lawyers, definitely not users. Apple wants to change that, Engadget reports. On Wednesday, Apple revamped the privacy page on its website to make it easier to understand. The policies themselves haven’t changed, though, just the way they’re presented. The policy for each Apple product and service is split into accessible sections – Safari, Maps, Photos, Messages, Siri, Apple News, Wallet, Health and the App Store – and the information is presented in clear, concise English rather than impenetrable legalese. The company is also publishing four whitepapers that provide more technical information on privacy and security across Apple’s portfolio. Apple clearly considers privacy protection to be one of its product differentiators. “We design Apple products to protect your privacy and give you control over your information,” Apple notes on its site. “It’s not always easy. But that’s the kind of innovation we believe in.” Unmentioned, however, is the fact that what happens on your iPhone … doesn’t always stay on your iPhone.

Educational Value

The College Board, the not-for-profit group that operates the SATs, is caught up in a privacy mess that underscores the chaotic state of personal data and consent. The College Board licenses testing data to colleges, which use it to recruit and market to students. Universities get the data for a set period of time and with certain rules attached. But the data has been abused by some elite schools, who use it to identify and market to thousands of fringe applicants, boosting their rejection rates, an important metric in college rankings. In one example, according to the story, “Tulane University said it bought about 300,000 names last year from College Board. Tulane’s applicant pool climbed 174% between 2002 and 2017 and its acceptance rate declined 62%,” according to federal data. More.

(Kind Of) Ad-Free 

Disney will make room for exactly one advertiser in its ad-free streaming services. Both Disney+ and ESPN+ will carry an ad promotion for Starz, a necessary pot sweetener because Starz holds the temporary rights to certain Star Wars films. The ad will feature a sign-up button that appears only one time when people subscribe to either service as well as on Disney’s Android app and on web browsers. Broadcast and film studios are trying to launch their own subscription services while balancing lucrative content licensing deals. And Disney is flexing its distribution muscle in order to get its content back under its own flag. “Licenses can run for many, many years,” said a former Lucasfilm distributor and digital rights expert. “Where it’s been licensed to, who it’s licensed to, and for how long, that gets very complicated.” More.

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