Sunday, February 21, 2021
In an Apple commercial that was on heavy rotation last fall, people go around telling strangers intimate information about themselves. “I browsed eight sites for divorce attorneys today,” a guy shouts to a bus full of passengers. A beautiful woman informs a passerby, “My home is in 1,000 feet.” A man in a bathroom stall announces, “I’m currently reading an article titled ‘10 Ways to Keep Sweaty Hands From Holding You Back.’” Finally, you find out what it’s selling: Apple’s privacy protections. “Some things shouldn’t be shared,” reads white text on a black background. “iPhone helps keep it that way.”
As something of a privacy enthusiast, I loved that commercial. It’s effective—more than 25 million views on YouTube—because it’s intuitive. You wouldn’t tell a coworker or a stranger on the street you looked at an embarrassing article, so why are you telling data brokers and ad tech companies?