It took eight days for my data to arrive from Apple, from a European office that is handling the privacy requests. After making the request, the iPhone maker first asked for my street address, phone number, the serial number of the iPhone, and other personal information before releasing it. This compares to Google and Facebook’s data dump. They asked no questions, and the results arrived swiftly-Facebook within minutes, and Google within hours.
Apple’s file on me took longer but was lightweight – a testimony, according to the company, of how little it collects and stores on its individual users.
What Apple didn’t share with me is all the questions I’ve asked the Siri personal digital assistant, queries it gathers to make the artificial intelligence smarter.
The company says the data wouldn’t tell an individual user anything, since it’s not associated with him or her. Your Siri requests – “Show me how to get to PF Chang’s,” or “What year was Steve Jobs born?” go back to Apple – but it uses a random identifier to mask your identity. So a Siri search for the closest Chipotle restaurant will only tell Apple that a user requested the data, but not associate it with me.
There are people out there who hate Apple products and services, but damn if their privacy stance isn’t world-leading. There’s absolutely no debating that fact.