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Apple’s Patent Wants to Know Your Salary and Your Credit Limit

Apple's Patent Wants to Know Your Salary and Your Credit Limit
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Seeing an advertisement for a Lexus when your bank account can handle a Toyota is essentially a waste of marketing dollars and, more importantly, your time. If you can’t afford it, you’re not going to buy it. Which is what led Apple to an ingenious idea. This past Thursday, Apple was awarded a patent that would allow them to display ads on users’ devices specifically tailored towards each user based on their income and credit limits.

The patent, which Apple filed for in March, describes an opt-in system that tracks the status of your bank account and credit limit, and then only displays ads for products that you can afford. According to the patent, “goods and services are marketed to a particular group 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.” This “common profile” that the patent speaks of is based on the amount of money each user has in their bank account, and the amount of available credit they have before they hit their limit.

Advertisers have been seeking out this kind of targeting since the advent of advertising. Obviously, it’s beneficial for advertisers to only display ads to users that they can afford. As the patent states, “ads delivered to the user includes only one or more objects having a purchase price less than or equal to the available credit for that user.” Advertisers won’t have to waste time and money marketing goods and services that are out of the user’s price range.

Although the patent was granted, it’s not clear whether or not Apple will do anything with this technology. Apple is known for filing patents for technology that is never put to use. However, this patent seems to run a bit contradictory to the way Apple typically runs their business – Apple CEO Tim Cook is notoriously critical of the privacy policy of other tech companies, and of companies who monetize users’ personal and/or financial data. Regardless, such a system would have to jump through quite a few hoops to ensure each user’s financial information remains private and inaccessible to third parties. If Apple decides to use such technology, we probably won’t be seeing it implemented in the immediate future.

What do you think about this patent? Is this an invasion of privacy? Or do you think that advertisements we actually care about, or can actually afford, would be beneficial? Let us know in the comments below!

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