As much as I hate to admit it, going off the grid is not all that appealing to me, but I can understand the sentiment of those who don’t want to be tracked; not only by the government, but by advertisers. The feds seem to have access to everything we do online, and Amazon and Google seem to make it easy to be tracked.
Does Apple track its customers? What does Apple do with the data? Does Apple give the data it collects to the federal government when asked, and if so how much, and does the company even bother to tell customers?
There is no doubt that Apple tracks its customers, but not to the extent that Amazon, Google, and others track us. That Apple stores some customer data is a given. The company has a billion customers and most of those use iCloud and that’s where data– among other places– gets stored.
The next question is, does Apple give customer data to the government? The answer is yes. Apple has acknowledged both the number of requests made by various governments, and the number of times it complied. But does Apple reveal such requests to their customers?
My concern is raised because it’s becoming increasingly clear that most major online entities– Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and probably all cell phone companies (who collect customer information as data; locations and time, devices used, calls made and when and from what location, and more)– grab and store as much customer related information as possible, and they are likely to hand it over to government entities whenever asked.
Zack Whittaker brought this to my attention regarding the online storage company Box.
Cloud storage giant Box won’t say how many times it has turned over customer data to the government.
The company’s policy stands out from the cloud storage crowd, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Dropbox, which along with other every internet and phone company in the Fortune 500 provide a biannual transparency report detailing the number of government requests and secret orders they receive.
Not only is Box not admitting all they do, calling it “strictly limited to the extent mandated and required by applicable law” but Apple, Google, Amazon, cell phone carriers and others do not seem to notify their customers regarding such personal data searches.
Box might be the outlier here because the customer base is mostly business, while Apple and Amazon’s customer base is mostly consumer, but the point is the same. The government makes requests, and these companies comply by handing over specified data according to law, and neither the government nor Apple, Amazon, Google, and friends notify users or customers of the requests.
Do we not have a right to know when we’re being investigated? Apparently not.
Knowing that, I’ve taken more time to ensure that more of what I store online is highly encrypted, and I use only online communications that are encrypted end to end. Color me a bit paranoid, but if everyone is out to track you and turn over their collected data to government fishing attempts, then paranoia is the right attitude to have.