Why Do We Trust Apple with All Our Data and Not Google?


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Since we’ve been writing a lot about Google and Facebook and the myriad ways they use the information they glean about us, it occurred to me to wonder why so many people trust so much of their lives to Apple? Doesn’t Apple also know what we buy, what we listen to? If we use Apple’s email, they also have access to that information, don’t they?

I asked Scott Jordan why he trusted Apple more than Google with his email (and other things). Here’s his answer:

“I think the difference goes to motivation. Google is an ad company. You are their product. The more they know about you and your associations and your interests and your intimate details, the better they can target their ads, the more they can sell and the more they can charge for them. Apple, by comparison, is a product company. The more they can make products you want to buy, the more they can sell and the more they can charge for them.

When Google gets caught (as you noted) keeping track of all your email transactions in your corporate/paid email account, that’s in furtherance of their prime directive to know everything about you. When they unify your profile across all their services, that’s again in line with their overarching directive to paint a clear and unambiguous picture about you. (And I’ve surmised before here that if they aren’t doing so already, they will soon also be gleaning tidbits about you from your in-process Gmails as your drafts are saved for safety as you write.) Again by comparison, when Apple gets caught doing something like seemingly keeping track of your locations, it’s usually explainable as a technical whoops.

Another point of comparison is the storage of your files. From multiple reports, Google’s “g-file” cloud-storage offering is imminent, and I’ll be watching to see how secure its storage is. Will your files be readable by them? Or are they transferred via encrypted channel and stored in encrypted form that can only be decrypted by a key presented by the user’s device? The latter, per a recent post here, is how iCloud does things. And again the question arises because of the vastly different motivations of the companies. It would surprise no one if Google will use your cloud-stored files to learn more about you. Apple doesn’t need to know.

Similarly, iOS full-device encryption has been a standard, automatic and transparent-to-the-user hardware-supported feature since the iPhone 3GS. Blackberry has had it for years, too. But it’s just now coming to Android, and I can only conclude it’s because keeping your stuff secret is just not a priority for Google. Quite the contrary: it wants and needs to peek.

Google doesn’t make conventional personal computers (though the Chromebook edges into that territory), but it’s worth noting that Apple’s FileVault 2 whole-disk-encryption technology is an absolutely awesome implementation of iron-clad device security, very likely the best in the industry. It’s based on the iOS whole-device encryption technology. It is turned off by default but you can turn it on with a few clicks, and then it encrypts your entire disk in the background while you work. Amazing stuff. There are caveats, of course—some features like target-disk mode are complicated by activating it—but compared to the full-disk encryption utilities for other platforms that I’ve endured, it’s just astonishingly good, and entirely effective, and a standard feature of OS X Lion.”

~ Scott Jordan

~ Patty

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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