Apple Releases TV Ad Promoting Data Privacy

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Today, Apple Inc launched a television advertising campaign that promotes its stance on data privacy. It is attempting to differentiate itself from its rivals in the tech industry such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google that have become the target of regulatory scrutiny over the said issue.

Apple said that the 45-second commercial will start airing on TV stations in the United States today. It will run throughout the annual “March Madness” basketball tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association that draws millions of viewers.

The ad will later be shown in other countries, however, Apple declined to disclose whether it would air in China or how much was going to be spent on the said campaign.

The spot shows various situations such as people closing doors, shower curtains, or window blinds to seek privacy. It says:”If privacy matters in your life, it should matter to the phone your life is on. Privacy. That’s iPhone.”

Tim Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple, has frequently discussed about the position of the company against the collection of personal information. In particular, Cook has singled out the assembly of profiles of consumers for the purpose of targeting ads – the heart of how Facebook and Google make money.

However, the television spot is the first time that Apple has emphasised the issue to consumers in a national ad campaign. The only previous privacy advertisement of Apple was a billboard at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January that stated, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”

The iPhone maker’s campaign comes as large technology firms are under unprecedented scrutiny because of their data privacy practices. Facebook and Google have drawn consumer lawsuits and inquiries from lawmakers.

Both firmshave said that they are making some changes to boost user privacy. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, said that the company is planning to encrypt more of the conversations happening on its messaging services, which could limit the visibility of Facebook into those conversations.

Google, the primary rival of Apple makes the Android operating system that powers most of the mobile phones in the world. This week, Google said that it is working on privacy enhancements for Android, such as locking down the access to a phone’s microphone and camera.

For its part, Apple is attempting to persuade consumers that it can provide competitive features, including customised news reading lists, without Apple viewing their data.

The iPhones of Apple do collect data on consumers, however, the firm has said that it cannot view that data since it remains encrypted with a personal postcode on the user’s device or has identifying information stripped away before being sent to Apple.