Apple's new patent could give consumers enhanced internet privacy

Jun 26, 2012 16:08:14Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Apple's new patent could give consumers enhanced internet privacy

Apple recently announced its new patent technology, which will make it harder for advertisers to profile consumer data for market research, according to PCWorld. In recent months, many have voice opposition to the advertising practice of compiling data to better market products.

The profiling has become so detailed, advertisers can easily find out a shopper's age, marital status, number of children, hometown and estimated salary. The data collectors then use this information to create targeted ads, which are promotions aimed at specific consumers. To prevent this, the new patent issues false information to data miners in order to skew data, thus decreasing its value to marketers.

"So let's say you're in California, and you use your Mac to visit Amazon and use your VISA card to buy the book Animal Farm by George Orwell," Mike Elgan of Cult of Mac explained to the news source. "Apple's patent implies that these data harvesters would be lied to - for example, told that you're in Kansas on a Linux PC using your AMEX [with a fake number] to buy the book Cooking with Pooh."

However, not everyone feels this type of customer profiling is bad. Some consumers argue that if they have to deal with advertisements, at least targeted ads promote products they actually might purchase. But others say that data collection for advertising purposes is a slippery slope to other forms of privacy invasion.

According to DigitalTrends, this isn't the first time Apple has developed technology that advocates internet privacy. Apple was among the first to implement the Do Not Track feature for internet surfers, and its iBookstore battled against the publishing industry's data mining practices.