Online Privacy Should Be Modeled on Real-World Privacy

Monday, September 7, 2020

I read Daring Fireball often and one of the things I strongly agree with Gruber on is privacy. I think privacy ought to be a fundamental right and I loathe the practices of tech companies that are formulated on invading it. That is also why I use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine.

John Gruber wrote this post following Apple’s new iPhone ad (watch it, it is a great one) about companies act as privacy thieves by tracking people across the internet. I agree with it in its entirety.

They have zero right, none, to the tracking they’ve been getting away with. We, as a society, have implicitly accepted it because we never really noticed it. You, the user, have no way of seeing it happen. Our brains are naturally attuned to detect and viscerally reject, with outrage and alarm, real-world intrusions into our privacy. Real-world marketers could never get away with tracking us like online marketers do.

We definitely wouldn’t accept this type of behavior in the real world!

The tracking industry is correct that iOS 14 users are going to overwhelmingly deny permission to track them. That’s not because Apple’s permission dialog is unnecessarily scaring them — it’s because Apple’s permission dialog is accurately explaining what is going on in plain language, and it is repulsive. Apple’s tracking permission dialog is something no sane person would agree to because this sort of tracking is something no sane person would agree to.


The privacy thieves have, unsurprisingly, come out against these expected changes coming in iOS 14, and tried to defend their entitlement. They should have none. And they would have none if their business models were based on asking users for permission (as Apple’s system is expected to).

More privacy for one and all.