When it comes to extracting and storing and selling our personal information online, here are a few questions to consider.
First, can Apple be trusted? Second, who can be trusted? And, finally, who do you trust more than Apple?
What raises these questions in the first place? Privacy. Or, rather, lack of privacy. And the fact that Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, Facebook, and nearly any other tech giant of the day has no problem grabbing information about us, and then selling it to the highest bidder.
While all the aforementioned have their issues with user information and privacy (or, lack thereof) even Apple is under fire from the U.S. Justice Department for rigging pricing with large book publishers. What Apple did is certainly suspect but it also brought about a measure of competition which didn’t exist before the iBooks store.
Still, can Apple be trusted? The answer is a qualified ‘no.’ Why not? If corporations are people, then they should be expected to behave as people, and that alone is enough to not trust Apple. But Apple does not derive most of their revenue and profits by capturing information from customers. Apple sells products which hold content and applications, and Apple sells both content and apps to keep us happy and locked into Apple’s walled garden.
And that’s not such a bad thing if Apple remains responsible with data collections.
Alright, if Apple cannot be completely trusted with our information, and I’m on record as saying they cannot, then who do you trust more than Apple?
Microsoft? Facebook? Amazon? Google?
Oh, please. It’s not a fair fight. Apple wins hands down. Microsoft runs Bing which captures user information and makes it available to anyone with enough money. Ditto for Facebook, Amazon, and, of course, the kind of personal information capture, Google.
More and more of the discerning class of customer recognize the value of personal data– their own, and how captured data about their own online traffic is valuable to Google et al. And, more and more, we want that data kept private, or not harvested at all.
While I’m suspect of Apple, I want to expect that Apple will recognize the value of product differentiation, and avoid the dangers posed by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and unscrupulous internet trackers and advertisers, and, therefore fall on the side of privacy. And, yes, they’re all unscrupulous. Data is the business. Remember, to Google, you’re the product, not the customer.
It’s an odd paradox, this privacy business. Can Apple be trusted? No. But who can be trusted more?