Apple Makes You the Apple of Marketers’ Eyes: How Apple Ads Can Be a Security Threat

Apple Ads - iAd

On Thursday, it was announced that Apple has a patent application filed that would allow iAd, Apple’s advertising branch, to target advertisements to you based on your credit card limits and projected income. In short, if Apple does not believe you could pay for the item, Apple ads won’t show it to you. The wording used in the application (according to Mashable) is as follows:

“Goods and services are marketed to particular target groups of users sharing a common profile which may be selected to increase the likelihood of the users responding to the advertisements and purchasing the advertised goods and services. The common profile of users may be based on the amount of pre-paid credit available to each user.”

From a marketing standpoint, this is an awesome concept. For the companies, their ads are being targeted to only people who could realistically become customers. For the advertisees, they are only receiving messages from companies/products that are within their budget and of interest to them.

However, there’s something you may not be thinking of: your financial security. If you have any Apple account–which odds are, you do–then they already have your credit card information. You willingly gave it up years ago when you registered for your account. You typed those numbers in thinking the only use for this information was to bill you $0.99 (or $1.29 if you created your account more recently) for when you needed to purchase your guilty-pleasure song (because let’s face it, we all downloaded “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas in 2009).

That’s not the case. With this new patent, Apple can use that credit card to do more than bill your account and send you a  receipt. They can share all or partial pieces of your information to marketers, whether in-house or outsourced, to then advertise products to you that you can afford. Yes, it’s nice to have customized ads for products in your budget, but is it worth the cost?

The answer to that is going to be different for each person. If this privacy invasion is something of concern for you, there is little you can do at this point. This patent hasn’t been granted yet, and even if it is, there’s a chance Apple may do nothing with it. The company is known for buying patents just so their competitors do not have it. The best advice we can offer you is to go through your settings. Make sure that no information is shared that you don’t want out there. This can be done for all your online platforms, not just Apple. Take control of your information on the Internet, and do what you need to do to ensure its security.

Apple Ads iAd

Remember, they’re always watching…

If your business is looking for security options, Heart may be able to help. Check out our Security solutions, and give us a call at 309.427.7000 to learn more about how we can keep your information safe and sound.