Maybe I’m somewhat naive, and you would think a few decades of paranoia would help to cure that, but I appreciate Apple’s cat-and-mouse stance for privacy and security (despite my misgivings about being in cahoots with Google on Safari’s default search engine).
Apple tracks customers. But not much and almost inconsequential relative to competitors and other major technology companies. Today there are ways to download personal information from Google and Facebook and Apple.
Apple wins. I downloaded just over 5MB from Apple and most of that was a list of purchases, different products I’d bought through the years, and absolutely every item– and I’m assuming that I retrieve all of it– was inconsequential. That was not the case elsewhere.
Google had information files on me going back to 2010– over 200MB. My Facebook account, since deleted, had 182MB. Browsing around the interwebs over the weekend I found a number of people who had double and triple that much data floating around Google and Facebook data centers.
Those are mere distractions to other disturbing events that have been uncovered this year. The New York Times found a service which can track your cellphone with ease. McGee’s ability to do the same on N.C.I.S. notwithstanding, how is that not criminal?
The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon
What that means should be obvious to us. We are being tracked to the point of being stalked, and even if we’re not actually being tracked by authorities, hackers, search engine giants, giant online retailers, or social networks, everything is in place for Big Brother to do the deeds whether we like it or not.
I do not believe there is a single Big Brother out there, but I am convinced there are many Big Brothers and each one tracks us in slightly different ways. The fear we should have is when they begin to collaborate. Automatically. Then the big Big Brother is a real threat.
What is Apple doing about such shenanigans?
Not enough. Something, yes. But not enough.
Messages has end-to-end encryption. It’s more difficult to hack into an iPhone than ever before (iOS 11.4, due soon, will make the GrayKey box more difficult to use on locked iPhones). Files on iCloud can be obtained by government authorities. Apple has the technical chops and the money to provide customers with an Apple-branded VPN– virtual private network– but instead prefers to give money back to undeserving shareholders and buy back stock.
If everyone out there is a tracker of some sort and Apple is the cleanest and squeakiest of them all, then why not fall down on the side of enhanced privacy and security?
The time has come. Privacy and security needs a public advocate.