In light of the recent Facebook user data scandal we need a privacy advocate. Who else is there besides government intervention which is not likely to happen in the U.S. (Europe is a different animal). And Apple.
As diverse as Apple’s revenue stream is, the one area where the company shines is data. While the iPhone maker collects plenty of user data from a variety of products and sources, that data is not a direct or indirect revenue stream. For the most part, Apple’s revenue and profits are derived from hardware sales (and those that seem not to be– in the growing and highly profitable Services– are still dependent upon hardware) and not advertising.
Apple needs to become the champion of personal privacy because humanity needs a privacy champion. If not Apple, then who?
Europe has a new regulation called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which seems to be aimed at protecting citizen’s rights regarding personal information.
The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data
Facebook, Google, Amazon, and online advertisers– not to mention government entities– gather user and customer information in ways we do not know about, and then use that same information to influence and manipulate the very users who gave up the data in the first place.
Short of a worldwide education process to inoculate humankind against such shenanigans, or complete government intervention to prevent the gathering and use of personal information, who can stop the spread of such scurrilous activity?
What Apple can do is continue to build and improve the walled garden ecosystem where data is your friend, and not a beast that seeks to control, manipulate, and influence your actions. Apple has the technology chops to create a useful search engine, a private social network, and online interaction and communication platforms– completely private from the commercial versions which stalk users and customers today.
Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al– I’m looking at you.
The crime of the century may not be the aforementioned trio (the axis of evil I read somewhere) but Apple– if the company does not take the side of privacy and provide customers with protection from data looters.