What would you say if I told you that Apple can target advertising based on your credit and debit card balances? That is exactly what a recently approved Apple patent outlines. Apple will have the ability to target ads based on your credit and debit card balances. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, recently criticized competitors like Google and Facebook for collecting users personal information for the purpose of monetizing it. He said that Apple didn’t want to be that kind of company. This patent appears to be in direct opposition to Apple’s commitment to user privacy.
Last month Tim Cook spoke about privacy at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). He said that:
“Our privacy is being attacked on multiple fronts… Some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
Tim’s speech and the recent patent from Apple are in stark contrast to each other. Apple collects vast amounts of personal information from it’s customers. There is no question about that. It’s a question of how they use that information. Consumers are more aware than ever of the privacy implications that technology has on their lives. The new Apple patent shows that the company plans to use our personal financial information to target advertising. From a business standpoint it might make sense to target specific ads based on a users current economic status but as an Apple customer I’m not alright with that.
As a long-time customer I use Apple products for business and put them in the hands of my family to use every day. The powerful platforms that Apple has created give us access to some of the best hardware, apps, and entertainment. I’m willing to pay a premium for Apple products because I trust the company. I trust that the products and correlating services are better than the competition. For me a big part of that trust comes down to my family’s privacy. If Apple loses the trust of their customers it won’t matter how well they can target ads.