Apple’s privacy statements with regard to the “Home” app

In order to understand the data flows with regard to Apple’s Home app, it is important to study the privacy statements Apple published on their website.Apple divides their privacy policy into several categories to make it more clear where and what data is obtained. You can find Apple’s privacy police here. For this research Apple’s statements are divided into a statement and a consequence taken from their publication. Underneath the table we will quickly discuss the privacy policy in the light of the Home app.

Personal Data:

“Information data that can be used to identify or contact a single person” (Privacy Policy).

Apple’s statement Consequence
When you create an Apple ID, apply for commercial credit, purchase a product, download a software update, register for a class at an Apple Retail Store, contact us or participate in an online survey. Name, mailing address, phone number, email address, contact preferences, credit card information, government ID is collected by apple.
When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to participate in Apple services or forums. Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Apple will use such information to fulfill your requests, provide the relevant product or service, or for anti-fraud purposes.
Asking for your government id when setting up a wireless account and activating your device. Extending commercial credit, managing reservations, or as required by law.

(Privacy Policy)

When you use the Home app it is possible that information about you, such as the your name, mailing address card information and government id is collected by Apple. The same goes for other people you invite to use your smart home via the Home app. In the statement above it says this can be used for for instance fulfilling your requests or to provide relevant products. With regard to the Home app this could mean an advertisement for a smart home that is not yet present in your smart home.

Non-personal data:

“Data in a form that does not, on its own, permit direct association with any specific individual” (Privacy Policy)

“We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose. The following are some examples of non-personal information that we collect and how we may use it” (Privacy Policy).

“If we do combine non-personal information with personal information the combined information will be treated as personal information for as long as it remains combined” (Privacy Policy).

Apple’s Statement Consequence
Apple may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, referrer URL, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used. In order to better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising.
We may collect information regarding customer activities on our website, iCloud services, our iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, App Store for Apple TV and iBooks Stores and from our other products and services. Provide more useful information to our customers and to understand which parts of our website, products, and services are of most interest. Aggregated data is considered non‑personal information for the purposes of this Privacy Policy.
We may collect and store details of how you use our services, including search queries. This information may be used to improve the relevancy of results provided by our services. Except in limited instances to ensure quality of our services over the Internet, such information will not be associated with your IP address.

(Privacy Policy)

The meta data could be collected in a non-personal way in order to understand the behavior of the Home app user (e.g. daily routines). Also it could be used to target certain advertisements that are related to the Home app. It is also possible Apple will collect the activities that are set up on your Home app (e.g. Film Night, Date Night) in order to collect data about the users behavior. It becomes clear that Apple claims to collect the data to improve their services.

Cookies and other technologies

Apple’s Statement Consequence
Apple’s websites, online services, interactive applications, email messages, and advertisements may use “cookies” and other technologies such as pixel tags and web beacons. In order to better understand user behavior, tell us which parts of our websites people have visited, and facilitate and measure the effectiveness of advertisements and web searches.
Is treated as non personal information. However, to the extent that Internet Protocol (IP) addresses or similar identifiers are considered personal information by local law, we also treat these identifiers as personal information. Similarly, to the extent that non-personal information is combined with personal information, we treat the combined information as personal information for the purposes of this Privacy Policy.
If you do not wish to receive ads targeted to your interests from Apple’s advertising platform, you can chose to enable Limit Ad Tracking, which will opt your Apple ID out of receiving such ads regardless of what device you are using. If you enable Limit Ad Tracking on your mobile device, third-party apps cannot use the Advertising Identifier, a non-personal device identifier, to serve you targeted ads. You may still see ads in the App Store or News based on context like your search query or the channel you are reading. In third-party apps, you may see ads based on other information.
Apple and our partners also use cookies and other technologies to remember personal information when you use our website, online services, and applications Our goal in these cases is to make your experience with Apple more convenient and personal. For example, knowing your first name lets us welcome you the next time you visit the Apple Online Store. Knowing your country and language − and if you are an educator, your school − helps us provide a customized and more useful shopping experience. Knowing someone using your computer or device has shopped for a certain product or used a particular service helps us make our advertising and email communications more relevant to your interests. And knowing your contact information, hardware identifiers, and information about your computer or device helps us personalize your operating system, set up your iCloud service, and provide you with better customer service.
Possible to disable cookies Please note that certain features of the Apple website will not be available once cookies are disabled.
As is true of most internet services, we gather some information automatically and store it in log files. This information includes Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, browser type and language, Internet service provider (ISP), referring and exit websites and applications, operating system, date/time stamp, and clickstream data.

(Privacy Policy)

The Home app uses cookies or other comparable technologies in order to further define the users behavior. Besides that it stores some basic information in order to personalize the service they provide. Thus it remembers settings and data that you have put in to the Home app.

Third Parties

Apple’s statement Consequence
At times Apple may make certain personal information available to strategic partners that work with Apple to provide products and services, or that help Apple market to customers. When you purchase and activate your iPhone, you authorize Apple and your carrier to exchange the information you provide during the activation process to carry out service. If you are approved for service, your account will be governed by Apple and your carrier’s respective privacy policies. Personal information will only be shared by Apple to provide or improve our products, services and advertising; it will not be shared with third parties for their marketing purposes.
Apple shares personal information with companies who provide services. Services such as information processing, extending credit, fulfilling customer orders, delivering products to you, managing and enhancing customer data, providing customer service, assessing your interest in our products and services, and conducting customer research or satisfaction surveys. These companies are obligated to protect your information and may be located wherever Apple operates.
It may be necessary for Apple to disclose your personal information. We may also disclose information about you if we determine that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate. Data could be requested by law, legal process, litigation, and/or requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence.
We may also disclose information about you if we determine that disclosure is reasonably necessary to enforce our terms and conditions or protect our operations or users. Additionally, in the event of a reorganization, merger, or sale we may transfer any and all personal information we collect to the relevant third party.

(Privacy Policy)

The most interesting part here is where Apple states that it might disclose your information for public importance (e.g. law enforcement). You can find more information about the possibilities for third parties here.

Location based services

Apple’s statement Consequence
To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. Where available, location-based services may use GPS, Bluetooth, and your IP Address, along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations, and other technologies to determine your devices’ approximate location. Unless you provide consent, this location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, your device may share its geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services. Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.

(Privacy Policy)

This location based data is collected in a anonymous way. Unless you consent with sharing your personal information and location with services. The home app could ask for your consent in this matter. Resulting in a collection of data about your activities and times you were at home.

Siri and Dictation

Apple’s Statement Consequence
When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text and to process your requests. Your device will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., “my dad”) of your address book contacts; song names in your collection, and HomeKit-enabled devices in your home (e.g., “living room lights”) (collectively, your “User Data”). All of this data is used to help Siri and Dictation understand you better and recognize what you say. It is not linked to other data that Apple may have from your use of other Apple services. By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and dictation functionality in other Apple products and services.
If you have Location Services turned on, the location of your iOS Device at the time you make a request to Siri may also be sent to Apple. In order to help Siri improve the accuracy of its response to your location-based requests. You may disable the location-based functionality of Siri by going to the Location Services setting on your iOS Device and turning off the individual location setting for Siri.

(Privacy Policy)

The home app is compatible with Siri. What could be problematic here is that this could mean Siri will record and send out data from inside your home. The names of your devices will also be send to Apple, this could be complemented with your location. Apple states that all of this data is not connected to other data that is collected of you.

Now it is time to find out which data “Home” app users may send out. For a overview, start with the mind map, then have a look at the exact data flows for various scenes (“Good morning”“Film night”“Time for bed”, and a combination) and try this to see a concrete example.

 

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