Apple gives you a secret trust score by tracking your calls, emails

Apple iPhone 7

Apple has always been big on user privacy, which is why a new iTunes provision which allows them to spy on you to rate your trustworthiness is so off-brand. The new rule got introduced with the release of iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12 a few days ago.

As per the iTunes Store & Privacy page, the change lets Apple monitor how you use your device, including the number of phone calls you make and get or emails you send and receive. This information will be used to put together a device trust score when you try to make a purchase.

Apple Trust Score Rules

Apple says these submissions are designed in a way that it can’t learn the real values of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Apple TV. These scores will stick around for a limited period of time, so the system will probably generate new ones from time to time. All this is apparently being done to help identify and prevent fraud.

However, it’s not entirely clear why call and email stats are necessary to compute a trust score. It’s not like the Apple TV can do either of those things. Besides, each iPhone and iPad contains a unique device identifier, serial number, and advertising identifier. The firm can easily verify a device’s identity by looking up all this data.

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An Apple spokesperson told VentureBeat that this measure is meant to detect fraud in iTunes purchases and reduce false positives in fraud detection. Keeping track of your calls, among other data, somehow gives the brand a better chance of finding out if the content being bought is by the actual named purchaser and not some hacker.

Apple also stressed that it only gets the score on its end and not the actual number of calls you make. There’s no way to find out what your score is at the moment. The company should change that in the future and disclose a complete list of things which it’s keeping an eye on.