If Betteridge’s Law of Headlines is applied then the answer to the headline is no because it ends in a question mark. If you think only Apple can provide personal privacy in the digital age you would be wrong.
If it takes two to tango then someone else must be involved in security personal privacy when you go online in the 21st century. Apple helps, but the company’s interests put money and profits over truly caring about customer privacy. We are required to take the steps necessary to get secure, remain secure, and maintain our own privacy. Apple helps, yes, but even Apple has privacy lapses and flawed strategies.
How else do you explain Apple’s penchant for putting Google as the default search engine on Safari; Mac, iPhone, and iPad? Google gives Apple billions of dollars a year because iPhone, iPad, and Mac customers do more than their fair share of searching online, and that mean huge revenue for Google and they share that search engine revenue with browser makers. Safari may be the single most used browser after Google’s own Chrome.
I bring this glaring issue of user involvement in gaining and maintaining personal privacy because of a news item where an online stalker and hacker received a prison sentence of 17 years and five years of supervised release. Zero Day on hacker Ryan S. Lin:
According to the US Department of Justice, Lin carried out an extensive cyberstalking campaign against his former housemate, her family members, co-workers, friends, and others.
He also hacked into the former housemate’s online accounts, posted sexual solicitations in her name, sent images of child pornography, and made over 120 hoax bomb threats.
Clearly, the guy had a streak of crazy going on and probably deserved the long sentence, but he got caught despite massive attempts to cover his tail with a covered trail.
For all his hacking, cyberstalking, and harassment, Lin masked his identity by using Tor, a ProtonMail anonymous email account, and VPN services.
Authorities do not just check the obvious trail locations which could be easily covered, but instead looked around and found plenty of crumbs that made the trail easier to uncover.
Most of the data were Chrome files which revealed that Lin had accounts on ProtonMail and textnow.com, and that he also visited online profiles for the victim and her family and friends. The Chrome files also revealed that Lin had read about the bomb threats he sent to local schools.
Another reasons not to use Chrome or anything with Google’s name attached to it, right? Why not use a good VPN service? He did.
But the biggest find came when investigators discovered artifacts suggesting Lin had used two particular VPN services –PureVPN and WAN Security… Lin’s error was that he used the same VPN accounts to access both his real accounts and the fake social media profiles he created to harass or follow the victim.
That was an expensive lesson to learn. Our online privacy and security is under a massive assault and increasingly it looks as if there is no place to weather the storm. Apple could help with a massive VPN service of its own, but even VPN services that say they do not track customers IP addresses and online habits have trails that authorities can follow.
I would believe Apple has customer privacy and security at heart, vs. bank account, if the company developed its on trackless VPN service and ditched Google as the default search engine in Safari. Can only Apple provide personal privacy while we’re online? No. And it looks increasingly as if we cannot do it, either.