After suggesting iOS 12 is worth the upgrade on Monday, today I have to be more cautionary. One feature that was introduced with the new OS was the Trust Score. To ‘help prevent fraud’ your device will begin tracking how you use it and build a profile to which it will award a trust score.
According to Apple, the data will not be stored, shared or sold but will be retained on your iPhone. It will be used to generate a score based on how you use the device which will be used when you make a purchase on the App Store.
The company quietly updated the iTunes Store’s privacy statement with the following:
‘To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase. The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.’
Apple assures everyone that it does not use this data for anything other than assessing your trustworthiness for App Store purchases and that this score is not traceable back to specific activities. They are not reading our emails or listening to our calls.
What they are doing is using an algorithm we don’t know about with a scoring system we don’t know about to judge how trustworthy we are. Like, what?
Is the Trust Score a problem?
By itself, having Apple asses you is no different than Facebook does, than Google does and most other businesses you deal with. They all collect data on you, your habits, interactions and all the other stuff you do on a daily basis. So Apple is no different than any other digital business.
Except. If you own an iPhone and don’t fit the ‘normal person’ template Apple has obviously created, what happens then? Our test phones in the shop don’t act like normal phones because they aren’t normal phones. What happens if we want to test a new app or download something from the App Store? Will our phone be denied access because it doesn’t behave in a normal way?
The idea of being weighed, measured and found wanting by some faceless corporation isn’t a comfortable one. Yet it happens all the time. Sure privacy analysts will have a field day and sure nobody likes to be spied on, tracked or assessed by people we don’t know and who don’t know us. But this is the way of the world right now.
While I personally see no issue with the Apple Trust Score except in the scenario above, I imagine sales of Android phones are going to be seeing a bit of a jump over the next few months.
What do you think of this new system? Fair or not?