Apple’s Using Your Call and Text Data to Figure Out Whether to ‘Trust’ Your Devices

Illustration for article titled Apple’s Using Your Call and Text Data to Figure Out Whether to ‘Trust’ Your Devices
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Apple has an interesting new method for combatting fraud—administering “trust scores.”


VentureBeat noticed a new provision inside the updated iTunes Store terms and privacy disclosure that came with Monday’s release of iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12. Apple now says it will take into account certain information about how you use your iOS device or Apple TV to determine a rating for that device.

The new language, which can be found online on Apple’s iTunes Store & Privacy page, reads:

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.


A spokesperson at Apple told Gizmodo that various data points are used to produce a trust score, but that data can not be reverse engineered to learn specific information about a user. According to Apple, the company can only know the numerical value, and it doesn’t use that score for for targeted advertising or anything other than fraud detection.

Apple TVs can’t be used for emails or calls, as VentureBeat points out, so we can’t say for sure what sort of information Apple may be using to determine a trust score for an Apple TV purchase.

This change will likely help Apple police fraudulent purchases or reviews and accounts. But now when you’re using an Apple device, Apple has another reason to keep tabs on how you’re using it—although to its credit, Apple says the info it gathers will be approximated and won’t sit there indefinitely on the company’s servers.


Update September 19 4:30pm EST: This story has been updated to reflect addition information provided by Apple about the company’s new numeric device trust score feature.


Former senior reporter at Gizmodo

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