Apple Revamps Privacy Policy Web Site

The latest updates to Apple's privacy policy Web pages reflect the challenge the company faces as its software and devices become ever "smarter": How to provide services that are increasingly tailored to an individual user's needs while also not becoming too invasive or "creepy" about the data that's collected and stored about that user.

Apple's expanded online policy descriptions explain, for example, how the company balances privacy with the need to track a user's reading activity to deliver personalized news stories and make reading recommendations. The updated site also describes how Apple encrypts health and activity data, both within its Health app and in information backed up onto iCloud storage.

The tech giant has increasingly made privacy and security an essential part of how it markets its products, in particular mobile devices like the iPhone. The company last year began supporting end-to-end encrypted communication by default with the release of its iOS 8 mobile operating system.

Identifiers and Device Numbers

Apple's expanded online privacy details explain how the company handles user data for a wide range of its offerings, including the contactless Apple Pay mobile payments system, iCloud cloud-based information backup, the Siri personal digital assistant, Apple Music, Maps and News.

With News, for example, Apple said it tracks and improves an individual user's reading habits with an anonymous, News-specific identifier rather than that customer's unique Apple ID. Users can reset those identifiers at any time by clearing their histories, and they can also limit ad tracking to stop receiving targeted advertisements on the news they read.

Similarly, transactions using Apple Pay are handled via a unique Device Account Number that enables payments to be made via a user's stored bank card information. The Device Account Number is encrypted and "walled off from your iOS device and Apple Watch, is never...

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