June 10, 2021

Apple’s new privacy features and what it means for school communities

The fall release of Apple’s iOS 15 comes with a lot of technological advancements. It includes the always-popular release of new emojis and the ability to Facetime non-Apple users. One update, in particular, the privacy feature, grabbed our attention as it aligns with our Social Standard, “Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous.”

Privacy Features that Give You Control

It’s so important stay in control of your personal information, and Apple is giving back that control. The update includes an ‘app privacy report’ that informs you when apps collect personal data. For example, when an app has gained access to your contacts or microphone. And, apps are now required to request approval before tracking your information (often used for targeted advertising). These updated features give you more say over what personal information is shared than ever before.

Apple is allowing you to protect your identity in other ways, too. Now you can choose to block marketers’ ability to track whether you open an email. And, Apple is offering a service to hide your internet traffic information from internet providers, similar to a V.P.N.

These new features are stirring up backlash from giant companies, like Facebook. Such organizations use this information in targeted advertising and in analyzing their marketing efforts. Despite this, Apple remains firm in the fight to protect your privacy.

The Debate for Smartphone Privacy

Where to draw the line for phone privacy has been debated since smartphones were released, but it jumped to the forefront of minds and the media in the aftermath of the 2016 terrorist attacks in San Bernardino. The FBI, trying to access the iPhone of the shooter, requested that Apple unlock the phone. Apple refused, citing a violation of privacy as their reason. Former Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said, “the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”

This incident sparked a debate over the decision’s validity and how privacy should be protected for every Apple user. 

Apple explicitly discussed privacy as a human right when presenting the new features. And, its refusal to be influenced by backlash from large corporations is proof that they’re committed to giving you the ability to protect your information. 

Empowering Students to Protect their Privacy

These features heavily support our Social Standard, “protect your privacy like you’re famous.”

Teenagers may not need to worry about a massive fanbase trying to find their house (though public shaming is a real thing!). But they should be careful with their personal information and who has access to it. Young people can be at risk to scammers, and they have less experience noticing red flags online. For these reasons, it’s important to educate students about privacy and teach them the life skills that empower them to control and protect it. As school communities work to encourage students to protect their information, this new feature offers students an easy way to take the first steps towards protecting themselves.

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through WinAtSocial.com, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.