As Facebook attempts to restore public trust following the Cambridge Analytica catastrophe and Europe prepares to implement new privacy laws, Apple on Thursday shared plans with Bloomberg to revamp its privacy controls. Starting this spring, Apple will update its web page for managing Apple IDs to allow users to easily download a copy of all their personal data that has been stored on the company’s servers.
Apple users will also be able to correct personal information that is inaccurate, temporarily deactivate their account or delete their account altogether. As Bloomberg explains, this functionality is being added to Apple’s website in order to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect on May 25th.
“This certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said when asked about the Facebook incident at a recent summit in China. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”
Apple says that the new web privacy features will roll out for European users in early May, and will then come to other countries at an unspecified later date. Apple doesn’t currently offer a privacy hub where users can download data and correct information, so this is a welcome addition (even if Apple had to be pushed into doing it).
And while it might be some time before everyone has access to the new privacy features, iOS 11.3, which just rolled out today, adds a new icon that appears whenever your device wants to access your personal information.