Revolutions come in many forms. Sometimes, they happen overnight. In other cases, a revolution takes many years. The smartphone revolution took nearly a decade to reach maturity and ubiquity across the globe.
The privacy and security revolution seems to be taking much more time. Google, Facebook, Amazon and others have made a fortune by tracking users and customers, and, as is often the case with the great unwashed hordes of humanity online, most people do not know what is going on behind the scenes.
Apple’s customers are revolting.
What does that mean? We need to bathe more frequently? We have opinions or habits that are offensive to the mainstream populace?
Apple and its one billion or so customers are leading a quiet revolution against the establishment, against forces of green darkness (Google, Facebook, and Amazon, I’m looking at you!), against government and private surveillance.
CEO Tim Cook has a spine:
Our own information is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences. This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data only serve to enrich the companies that collect them.
What’s going on?
Apple is weaponizing privacy but in the exact opposite direction of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others. Cook recognizes privacy as an important human right and such nefarious actors on the technology stage are taking that privacy and using it against us to enrich themselves at our expense.
We see vividly, painfully, how technology can harm rather than help. Platforms and algorithms that promise to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies. Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false.
Information culled from people while they are online is being used to manipulate them by many outside forces in ways never before imagined or used. No wonder the world is in such upheaval. Who leads the battle to curate and filter and protect?
As much as I appreciate Cook’s efforts to segregate the company and its customers from the information pollution that abounds elsewhere in the technology and information world, Apple can do more. Much more.
First, how about eliminating Google as the default search engine on Safari, Tim?
Yes, that will cost Apple a few billion dollars but putting money where the mouth is makes me respect Apple’s public intentions even more. Then, make a safe haven for Apple’s customers. Not just iOS and macOS, but online. Let me name it. iCloud VPN. A virtual private network that inhibits the tracking so common among technology giants Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others.
See? Easy steps that weaponize privacy and security in a way that involves Apple in yet another technology revolution.