When Orwell penned 1984, the dystopian novel that was meant to be a hyperbolic commentary on the way the British government produced propaganda and conducted surveillance, he couldn’t have possibly imagined just how advanced data collection technology could have become over the following seven decades.
And he certainly couldn’t have imagined that we’d be willingly paying for our own “telescreens” to carry around in our pocket and record everything we say and everywhere we go.
While most of our attention lately has been on the social media tech giants, Apple has quietly added something to their software agreements that will give most people chills.
When you update your iOS, you will now be agreeing to the establishment of a “trust score” to be determined based on your device usage.
The Blaze reports:
Apple has quietly introduced “trust scores” that will be assigned based on how users use their iPhones and other devices, Venture Beat reported.
Apple claims the content of the communications is not used, and it can’t tell whom you called or what was said on the calls, Business Insider reported.
The score’s only stated purpose is to detect fraud. Apple did not provide specific examples of how this would work.
The provision appears in the iTunes Store & Privacy windows of iOS and tvOS devices:
To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase. The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.
Venture Beat noted that the provision is unusual partly because it includes Apple TVs, which are not used to make calls or send emails.
“As such, it’s unclear how Apple computes the device trust score for iTunes purchases made through Apple TVs, but there’s other potential ‘information about how you use your device’ that could be scraped and abstracted,” the report states.
Various published reports also noted that the wording in the policy could allow for a broad interpretation.
“The method is reminiscent of an episode of the dystopian TV series ‘Black Mirror,’ in which people are rated on their interactions with other people,” the Independent reported. “In the episode, ‘Nosedive,’ the ratings are used to determine a person’s socioeconomic status, affecting their access to health care, transport and housing.”
To mix up my references to classic dystopian literature about tyrannical post-Western societies, we truly are living in a brave new world.
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