The researchers discovered that by looking into how Apple used the local differential privacy (LDP) model, they could determine people’s favorite emoji skin tone and political inclinations. To improve apps and services, businesses gather behavioral data generated by users’ devices on a large scale. However, these records are fine-grained and contain sensitive information about specific people.
LDP allows businesses like Apple and Microsoft to get user data without obtaining personally identifiable information. The current research, however, describes how emoji and website usage patterns obtained through LDP may be used to gather data on a person’s use of emoji skin tones and political affiliations. It was presented at the peer-reviewed USENIX Security Symposium. According to academics from Imperial College London, this goes against the promises made by LDP, and more has to be taken care of in order to safeguard the data of Apple consumers.