Privacy is one of the one most talked about issues in the world today. Everywhere you go online, some company, service, or news outlet talking about how it’s the end of privacy as we know it. Facebook just came under fire for its privacy permissions with the release of Facebook Messenger and forcing users to utilize it for chat on the social network. Now, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has stepped out and called Google on their privacy policies.
Let’s look at what the big fuss is about and whether or not Apple was right to pick on Google (for once.)
What Exactly Did Tim Cook Call Google Out On?
Tim Cook, coinciding with the iPhone 6 launch, released a statement on Apple’s website which you can read in its entirety here.
While Google’s name wasn’t directly mentioned, it’s no stretch to think that some of Cook’s statements are directed at their competitor. Cook hasn’t held back on Google, nor Microsoft, since taking the helm at Apple in 2011. In three short years, Cook has proven he’s not afraid of the competition, and he’s not afraid of saying what’s on his mind.
Some of the highlights of his statement on privacy include:
“We believe in telling you up front exactly what’s going to happen to your personal information and asking for your permission before you share it with us. And if you change your mind later, we make it easy to stop sharing with us. Every Apple product is designed around those principles. When we do ask to use your data, it’s to provide you with a better user experience.”
Truth be told, most legitimate companies offer this same promise, including Google, Microsoft and Apple. Whether or not they truly live up to it is a different story. Google has shown they hold onto search histories and other personal information even after you choose to delete your account. Microsoft has done the same thing. Has Apple been caught yet? No, not yet.
“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.”
Take this with a grain of salt. While I believe Cook when he says they don’t build products based on your personal information, I’d be surprised if a company of Apple’s magnitude didn’t specifically market towards you when using their products. Everyone does it, as pessimistic as that sounds, and Apple is most likely no different than Google, Microsoft, and others out there.
“Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.”
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and countless other companies have quickly turned over data to the government and law enforcement officials when asked. Sometimes they’ve volunteered it.Google fought this early on in its company history but as it grew into a powerhouse stepped back and gave away information freely in many cases. Twitter may be the only big game left on the Web still fighting against government, but that probably won’t last long.
Here’s the thing about the Internet: Big data rules. Whether a company is collecting data on you, your browsing habits, your shopping habits, and everything in between, the moment you choose to get online, you’re accepting them using your information as they see fit. While most of this data won’t harm you, it seems awfully invasive for accessing the World Wide Web. Just like the controversy over Facebook Messenger, you reap what you sow. If you want to use the Web, you have to accept that privacy is slowly becoming an illusion.
While Apple, and Cook, claim they have no need for your personal information, that doesn’t mean they aren’t using something from you to gain an advantage. You just don’t know what it is, yet.