Apple’s WWDC21 privacy features review

Gartner 10 Jun 2021 03:32

Each year at Apple’s developer conference (WWDC), the privacy segment starts with an affirmation “we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right”. As a privacy specialist I’ve always found that statement curious, privacy IS a fundamental human right and has been formalized as such since 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines 30 articles with the 12th affirming that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their1 privacy”.

Last year’s event saw some substantial shifts with the effective killing of Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) after having introduced it as a privacy-preserving measure less than a decade earlier. This year, the announcements in the keynote and the subsequent privacy pillars in focus session were more incremental, productizing some of last year’s changes.

TLDR, on the overall the announcements were underwhelming mostly providing pre-existing, albeit tightly integrated capabilities. The primary area I was really excited about was Apple’s push for privacy engineering and getting developers to build for privacy by adopting some fundamental “pillars” including data minimization, on device processing as well as user transparency and control.

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