When it comes to online privacy and security, who’s got your back? Google? Amazon? Apple? How about, “Nobody?” Maybe the question needs to be rephrased. How about, “Who has your back better than most?” In that case, we can stick Apple higher up on the list because the company does better with privacy and security than Google, Amazon, online advertisers, and authorities from the good old U.S. of A. and other increasingly totalitarian nations (Australia and the U.K., I’m looking at you).
Apple might be the lone hold out, a company that lets you control most of your own information, and a gadget maker that gives you a few tools to keep the privacy and security data wolves at bay.
Yes, our favorite Cupertino gadget maker lives in the crosshairs of a growing number of forces who want to take away even the basic privacy and security Apple provides. For example, the Mac comes with FileVault. Use it to encrypt your information. Lose the password and recovery key and your data is gone forever.
That’s privacy and security.
iPhone and iPad are much the same way. Without that all important password, your privacy is secure. Or, is it? If you use iCloud to backup iPhone or iPad, then Apple is added to the list of those who have access, ostensibly to help customers who really lose their passwords, but that also means Apple Inc. can be compelled to give up access to your information, encrypted or otherwise.
Apple finds itself in a precarious position these day. Apple customers in China have their data backed up on iCloud servers in China. Ditto for other oppressive and totalitarian regimes in the modern developed world. That’s good for governments who want to see what’s inside your private and secure files, but not so good for you if you live in those countries. Apple’s privacy and security only goes so far.
Who wants to kill Apple’s privacy and security positions? The list is growing. In addition to battles lost with various and sundry governments, guess who has an ongoing battle against Google, Facebook, and Amazon over privacy? Apple. Yet, Apple remains complicit with Google in online tracking thanks to the advertising giant paying billions to keep its status as the default engine on 1.5-billion installations of Safari.
Apple is under enormous pressure from competitors and governments to loosen up on privacy and security, yet the company remains distracted and attracted to Google’s big cash payments which help to bolster profits. Apple needs a friend. When privacy and security are defended by the government, Apple and its customers win. When privacy and security are eroded by competition and governments, Apple and customers lose.