Apple has a notable pro-privacy stance, actively making privacy-conscious features and settings part of its conferences, promotional campaigns, and public image. With its iOS 8 mobile operating system in 2014, the company started encrypting all contents of iOS devices through users’ passcodes, making it impossible at the time for the company to provide customer data to law enforcement requests seeking such information.
With the popularity rise of cloud storage solutions, Apple began a technique in 2016 to do deep learning scans for facial data in photos on the user’s local device and encrypting the content before uploading it to Apple’s iCloud storage system. It also introduced “differential privacy”, a way to collect crowdsourced data from many users, while keeping individual users anonymous, in a system that Wired described as “trying to learn as much as possible about a group while learning as little as possible about any individual in it”.
Users are explicitly asked if they want to participate, and can actively opt-in or opt-out. With Apple’s release of an update to iOS 14, Apple required all developers of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch applications to directly ask iPhone users permission to track them. The feature, titled “App Tracking Transparency”, received heavy criticism from Facebook, whose primary business model revolves around the tracking of users’ data and sharing such data with advertisers so users can see more relevant ads, a technique commonly known as targeted advertising.
Despite Facebook’s measures, including purchasing full-page newspaper advertisements protesting App Tracking Transparency, Apple released the update in mid-spring 2021. A study by Verizon subsidiary Flurry Analytics reported only 4% of iOS users in the United States and 12% worldwide have opted into tracking. However, Apple aids law enforcement in criminal investigations by providing iCloud backups of users’ devices,and the company’s commitment to privacy has been questioned by its efforts to promote biometric authentication technology in its newer iPhone models, which do not have the same level of constitutional privacy as a passcode in the United States.
Prior to the release of iOS 15, Apple announced new efforts at combating child sexual abuse material on iOS and Mac platforms. Parents of minor iMessage users can now be alerted if their child sends or receives nude photographs. Additionally, on-device hashing would take place on media destined for upload to iCloud, and hashes would be compared to a list of known abusive images provided by law enforcement; if enough matches were found, Apple would be alerted and authorities informed.
The new features received praise from law enforcement and victims rights advocates, however privacy advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, condemned the new features as invasive and highly prone to abuse by authoritarian governments. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission launched a privacy investigation to examine whether Apple complied with the EU’s GDPR law following an investigation into how the company processes personal data with targeted ads on its platform.
In December 2019, a report found that the iPhone 11 Pro continues tracking location and collecting user data even after users have disabled location services. In response, an Apple engineer said the Location Services icon “appears for system services that do not have a switch in settings.” According to published reports by Bloomberg News on March 30, 2022, Apple turned over data such as phone numbers, physical addresses, and IP addresses to hackers posing as law enforcement officials using forged documents.
The law enforcement requests sometimes included forged signatures of real or fictional officials. When asked about the allegations, an Apple representative referred the reporter to a section of the company policy for law enforcement guidelines, which stated, “We review every data request for legal sufficiency and use advanced systems and processes to validate law enforcement requests and detect abuse.
Apple has been a participant in various legal proceedings and claims since it began operation. In particular, Apple is known for and promotes itself as actively and aggressively enforcing its intellectual property interests. Some litigation examples include Apple v. Samsung, Apple v. Microsoft, Motorola Mobility v. Apple Inc., and Apple Corps v. Apple Computer. Apple has also had to defend itself against charges on numerous occasions of violating intellectual property rights.
Most have been dismissed in the courts as shell companies known as patent trolls, with no evidence of actual use of patents in question. On December 21, 2016, Nokia announced that in the U.S. and Germany, it has filed a suit against Apple, claiming that the latter’s products infringe on Nokia’s patents. Most recently, in November 2017, the United States International Trade Commission announced an investigation into allegations of patent infringement in regards to Apple’s remote desktop technology; Aqua Connect, a company that builds remote desktop software, has claimed that Apple infringed on two of its patents.
Apple has crehttps://onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Dealcheck4-3.pngated subsidiaries in low-tax places such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the British Virgin Islands to cut the taxes it pays around the world. According to The New York Times, in the 1980s Apple was among the first tech companies to designate overseas salespeople in high-tax countries in a manner that allowed the company to sell on behalf of low-tax subsidiaries on other continents, sidestepping income taxes. In the late 1980s, Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich“, which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean.
British Conservative Party Member of Parliament Charlie Elphicke published research on October 30, 2012, which showed that some multinational companies, including Apple Inc., were making billions of pounds of profit in the UK, but were paying an effective tax rate to the UK Treasury of only 3 percent, well below standard corporate tax rates. He followed this research by calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to force these multinationals, which also included Google and The Coca-Cola Company, to state the effective rate of tax they pay on their UK revenues.
Elphicke also said that government contracts should be withheld from multinationals who do not pay their fair share of UK tax. According to a US Senate report on the company’s offshore tax structure concluded in May 2013, Apple has held billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries to pay little or no taxes to any government by using an unusual global tax structure. The main subsidiary, a holding company that includes Apple’s retail stores throughout Europe, has not paid any corporate income tax in the last five years. “Apple has exploited a difference between Irish and U.S. tax residency rules”, the report said.
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