Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Apple’s latest iOS 17.2 update sparks privacy concerns with auto-downloaded journal app



Experts caution users over machine learning in the new ‘journal’ app

With the rollout of iOS 17.2, Apple introduced the Journal app, positioned as an ‘all-new way to reflect on life’s moments and preserve your memories.’ Unlike the conventional Notes app, Journal offers personalized suggestions to inspire users, encouraging the capture of ‘everyday moments and special events’ through journaling, claiming potential benefits for wellbeing.

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The personalized suggestions in Journal are powered by ‘on-device machine learning,’ a feature that has raised eyebrows among experts. Social media expert Kristen Ruby expressed her apprehensions on X, emphasizing the significance of the machine-learning element.

She highlighted the potential shift in the traditional concept of journaling, stating, “AI will prompt you with what to write based on reviewing your digital history on your device. The sacred bond between pen and paper and your brain no longer exists when there is another entity involved. This forever changes the concept of self-reflection when AI is prompting you on what to reflect on.”

Another X user voiced concerns, suggesting that the Journal app is automatically downloaded and shares information with nearby strangers.

To address privacy concerns, Apple released information on its website detailing how Journal handles data protection. The site explains that Journaling Suggestions use Bluetooth to detect nearby devices and contacts, without storing specific contact information. This information is stored on the device and not shared with Apple. Users have the option to control their privacy settings by disabling the ‘Discoverable by Others’ feature in Journaling Suggestions.

Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, reassured users about privacy, stating, “We are excited to bring the benefits of journaling to more people. Journal makes it easy to preserve rich and powerful memories, and practice gratitude by intelligently curating information that is personal to the user, right from their iPhone. And we’re making it possible for other journaling apps to offer the same personalized suggestions while maintaining the highest level of privacy.”

As users grapple with the implications of this new feature, the privacy debate surrounding the Journal app intensifies.


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