Apple CPO talks about iOS privacy, online safety and more in an interview

Apple’s chief privacy officer Jane Horvath sat down with ELLE.com to talk about the company’s privacy policy, her career, users’ online safety and more. Horvath started her career in law with AOL in 1995, and next joined the Department of Justice in 2007. Before coming to Apple in 2011, she was working at Google.

Now, she is the head of privacy, policy, and regulatory team at one of the world’s leading tech companies. Horvath’s job responsibilities cover everything related to the legal framework of products and privacy rights, especially in high profile cases like the legal battle with the FBI to unlock the iPhone via a backdoor of the 2015 terrorist attack suspect in San Bernardino, California.

Apple CPO

Apple privacy pioneer is glad to be working at a company that views privacy as a “human right”

Discussing her experience at Apple, Horvath said that she feels like she has gotten the best of both worlds: “I get to do civil liberties and work somewhere that really looks at privacy as a fundamental human right”.

The discussion on what data the engineers can collect from a device at the very first meeting made her realize that she had arrived at a place that “really, really” protected privacy.

Recalling the very public contention with the FBI, she said that Apple could have created a backdoor like the agency demanded but decided not to comply because that couldn’t risk the privacy and safety of other users.

“During the San Bernardino case, we were asked to open a phone that was found in the suspect’s car, and it was a really hard discussion. We would have opened that phone if we could have opened it and not impacted every other phone, but we couldn’t, and so we decided that we wanted to protect all of our customers and resist the government’s ask to build an operating sustem that would’ve basically made every other phone vulnerable.”

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During the course of her 10-year tenure at Apple, Horvath explains that privacy laws have gotten stricter and Europe the leading the way on privacy laws with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Therefore, to company with European regulations and to provide users around the globe the same level of privacy, Apple has built a worldwide compliance function.

Furthermore, she emphasized that its imperative for users protect their privacy online because it’s interwoven with their security. Her advice for users, especially the youth, is to carefully think and review the content they post because once data “gets out there and it’s very hard to bring it back”.

The tech giant has released a series of privacy features on iOS including the revolutionary App Tracking Transparency, Mail Privacy Protection, and others to not only prevent invasive tracking but also to give users control over their data. Recently, the features were touted in a new ad, ingeniously.

About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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