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requesting privacy tips against Apple snooping


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#1 LongRange

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:28 PM

I am in the process of making the switch from Microsoft and Windows 10 snooping to (hopefully) the Apple iOS environment. Many have warned me that Apple spies on its users just like Microsoft. Are there measures that we can take to ward off Apple seeing all that we do on their machines? block telemetry to their servers? ALSO, Are there add-ons in Safari, as there are in Firefox, to protect users from ad-tracking and the like?

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#2 x64

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 01:43 PM

I've recently trodden that same path (moving from a Windows user with an iPhone/iPad/Apple Watch to using a MacBook Pro as my primary day to day PC). I've worked in IT for one 30 years and been involved with technology for over 40 years. I have significant experience in networking, security, and some software development experience.

 

I'd class myself as highly cloud skeptic, and privacy aware. And yes, I hate the way things are going at the moment with the race to the cloud eclipsing privacy, security, and quality - I say this as a background by which to judge my comments below - let's not turn this thread into a discussion/rant on those points!). That said I'm not totally anti cloud - I just need a good reason for each individual use that I make of it (as well as trust in the underlying service for security and privacy).

 

However a big part of any of the modern platforms is some processing of user information in the cloud. A common factor in a majority of software is the use of telemetry in order to give the developer insight into application reliability (I don't have an issue with that as long it is the minimum, and does not deliberately contain personal information). Sometime telemetry goes further than that, some to the point of being invasive(have a read of the privacy policy for Adobe Reader DC - you'll never use it again after that!). Some Telemetry is well meaning but excessive (think compattelrunner in win10). There is also the way that the developer goes about allowing the user to set the privacy options the way that suits them (my personal view is that MS fail on this point big time - not that the options don't exist, but MS take every opportunity to guide you to setting them extremely permissively, as that is what suits MS marketing department. 

 

There is the other point about privacy on the web in general - hence your question about web browser add-ins.

 

Onto the real answers.....

 

I'd not worry about Apple 'snooping' as such. They have very clearly and categorically stated that no part of their business is profiling users for marketing or reselling user information. I believe them (seriously). There is some telemetry for reliability but I have no reason to think it is excessive, and strongly believe that it is not overly invasive. Contrasting that with MS - I actually don't believe that they are deliberately snooping, but I do believe that they are not so careful about what they do collect and are way too bolshy about guiding users to the settings THEY want you to use.

 

however.....

 

In order to get the most out of the Apple platform a certain amount of that is necessary in order to provide the service. During product set up you have the option to configure privacy - It's reasonably opt-in to various cloud features rather than opt-out - yes you are offered the cloud integration but it's not rammed down your throat. You can turn everything off, but then you lose a lot of functionality.

 

My disillusionment with MS policy was one reason for me making the last step of my move to Apple (the MacBook) but also I realised that I was losing a lot of integration by having the [MS desktop OS/MS Office/Apple mobile] disjunct. Over a few years of iPhone use I'd become more comfortable with using some of the iCloud features and am not too shy about extending that to the macOS on my MacBook.

 

I am not in fear that the information I do sync via the cloud is being misused, and am as happy as I can be with the iCloud platform security. Going back to my point about my general cloud skepticism, I do only include information that I have reason to, but I'm not worried about using iCloud where I see benefit.

 

So I'd rate Apple as quite a bit ahead of MS on the privacy/trust front, and way ahead of Android. I'd also rate those platforms in the same order for security.

 

Onto the web browser Add-ins. Here I'm not so happy. Yes there are add-ins (I currently use Adblock plus and Ghostery) but the lack of some settings in Safari mean that I do not have my privacy set up as well as I did in Firefox on Windows. Yes I could use Firefox on macOS, but then I lose some integration with my iPhone and iPad, and macOS functions such as spotlight search and Siri.

 

In Firefox I'd set most Cookies to expire when Firefox was closed, whitelisting the few that I wanted to persist. In Safari you can't do that. Additionally popup blocker by site exclusions are surprisingly absent. 

 

At the moment I'm using Safari for the integration reasons, but I might change my mind in the future, and I'm still looking into improving the Safari situation.

 

One other thing to mention. I have quite a complex mail setup - I was thinking that I'd have to use Outlook for Mac in order to cope with it, but Mail for Mac copes ok, and I ended up using that (again for the integration benefits). The one privacy downside that I've detected with it is with the protection that Outlook gives to tracked images included in commercial emails. Mail for Mac either displays them or not (depending on an on/off switch). There is no facility to download images on demand and re-save them within the email.

 

The Safari and mail for Mac points aside, I'm delighted with my move. I also seem to have more time on my hands as I'm spending less time maintaining my Windows box and the security software on it. 

 

x64

(apologies for the partial post earlier.. One odd thing about safari is clicking in the wrong place and pressing space seems to activate the post button on BC..(arrrggghhh!!!)


Edited by x64, 06 July 2017 - 02:24 PM.


#3 LongRange

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 02:29 PM

x64: THANK YOU very much for your well-thought-out and well-written response. I feel as though I am certainly in your camp, with regards to cybersecurity, privacy, cloud, etc. I am shopping on-line for my first MacBook (Pro model, I believe) and finding some interesting configurations on the section of Apple's website for refurbished set-ups. I am hoping that finding a decent MacBook will make "getting my feet wet" not too painful. Then it's onto to slogging through learning a new operation system like you did. Thanks again!

#4 macuser

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 04:01 PM

nothing is private on the web or cell phones. everything we do is being logged and/or tracked by someone. Apple, Google, the government, your ISP, etc. It's very difficult to have privacy online and avoid being tracked. Some of the ways track us include:

 

  • IP address
  • 3rd party connections (when you see a facebook button on a site, that means facebook is tracking you).
  • HTTP referrer
  • cookies
  • scripts
  • super cookies
  • mobile tracking headers
  • browser fingerprinting
  • canvas fingerprinting
  • browser volunteered information
  • browser functionality
  • java
  • javascript
  • microsoft silverlight
  • flash

Edited by macuser, 17 January 2018 - 04:07 PM.


#5 Twin B

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:02 PM

Keeping this thread alive, I have MS Silverlight on my '09 iMac. Never knew why it's there and still don't since I have Adobe. i'm assuming from what I've read that I don't need it. If someone agrees, let me know and also how to remove the thing. I'm running El Capitan (ver 10.11.6)

 

Thanks.


Edited by Twin B, 12 March 2018 - 08:05 PM.

I've learned blood is not thicker than money. 

 


#6 Buddyme2

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 06:24 PM

I remember unins

 

Keeping this thread alive, I have MS Silverlight on my '09 iMac. Never knew why it's there and still don't since I have Adobe. i'm assuming from what I've read that I don't need it. If someone agrees, let me know and also how to remove the thing. I'm running El Capitan (ver 10.11.6)

 

Thanks.

I remember uninstalling it back when I had OS X 10.6 or OSX10.8 on my Mac. I haven't missed it since. Don't really know what it was for or how it was installed at the time.

 

These instructions still might work in uninstalling silverlight.



#7 Twin B

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 07:58 PM

Thanks Bud.


I've learned blood is not thicker than money. 

 





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