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Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 update aims to give its users full control over allowing which apps can collect and use their personal data. The update promises to force social media platforms and other apps to allow users to choose whether or not they want their information and searches tracked and recorded. This is the latest step in the company’s mission to make its products more secure than ever. However, many social media platforms have publicly criticized Apple’s new security regulations, shedding new light on how lucrative our personal data has become in this digital age. 

Apple’s latest security update iOS 14.5 is going to make it extremely difficult for apps like Facebook and online retailers like Walmart and Amazon to show their customers personally targeted ads. Tech companies bring in millions of dollars in annual revenue selling our personal user information. Apps like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and others track users as they move across other platforms and search things on the internet. Afterward, these companies take all that information and sell it to advertisement agencies. Online retailers then turn that data back onto the consumer with ads specially tailored to fit their unique search history. 

Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s latest security software updates and listed Apple as one of their biggest competitors. Zuckerberg has accused Apple of using the new update to push their own apps, actively interfering with Facebook. The company even reported that they were preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over the new app store regulations. Furthermore, Facebook and Instagram have pushed back against the new regulations by stating that data tracking allows their social media platforms to remain free. Facebook launched a campaign in December to frame Apple’s privacy updates as a direct attack on small businesses that rely on targeted ads to reach new customers. Zuckerberg’s growing criticism is giving a prominent spotlight on how tech companies have built up their platforms on the backs of our personal information. 

Apple has been steadily implementing new security features for all of its devices over the past couple of years. They’ve implemented new security features such as “sign in with Apple”, which allows users to create online accounts without the need to share personal information. This allows users to have more privacy when moving through online spaces. Apple also tracks its users’ saved passwords and alerts them when they have been involved in a data leak. These internal security features, along with Apple’s use of facial recognition and Touch ID, help make their products extremely secure. 

Tim Cook, Apple’s current chief executive, has vocalized his growing concern for the number of personal data apps like Facebook collect from its users. He has previously stated how businesses who profit off misleading and data exploitation do not deserve praise. These latest app tracking transparency features will ensure greater user security. 

Apple has been a consistent leading force for innovation in the technology realm. Protecting their users’ personal data online should be viewed as a positive move. The technology field is constantly shifting and is still relatively new, which means regulations may take a while to catch up. These companies take any opportunity to profit off their users and their personal information. We need to start taking a closer look at how these multi-billion dollar companies use and track our personal data. 

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