A patent filing by Apple Inc. has revealed a creepy new plan to show iPhone users ads based on the amount of money available in your their bank account. The idea is to show only ads for products a user can afford.
The system that Apple secured with the patent advertises “goods and services to users of mobile terminals, based for example on the users’ profile.” According to the patent, the profiles of users may be based from their available pre-paid credit, meaning the system would connect to a bank account or other sources of financial information.
Apple filed the patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last year.
Although Apple already keeps important user bank details with Apple Pay, this new patent will have the company storing even more information about bank accounts and the income of its user, essentially building a financial fingerprint of everyone who has an Apple account.
Profiles created for users will include information such as target telephone type, sex, age, income level as well as available credit. Advertisers who post ads on through the new service will then be able to target users based on this highly personal data.
Apple claims this is to be an opt-in service and that the advantage of having the system will mean users only seeing ads of things that they can afford rather than things out of their price range, though what starts as opt-in only usually doesn’t stay that way.
With only a patent in the works, there is no guarantee that this system will ever make it to the market. As with Apple Pay, it is highly unlikely that Apple would sell the information gathered from users to advertising companies though that wouldn’t prevent them from using the information if it was provided through Apple’s interface.
As technology increases and becomes more personalized, users will have to decide whether the added convenience and customization is worth the invasion of privacy as companies like Apple begin to have access to more and more personal information. Although Apple and it’s advertisers may have good intentions with the information the mass harvesting of data can lead to negative unforeseen consequences for users, such as from data breaches and discriminatory business practices.