It’s 11 a.m. on a Wednesday; do you know where your personal information is?
That was the subject on which Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, delivered his speech at the “Champions of Fredom” event in Washington D.C. The event was hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy research non-profit based in our nation’s capital.
Cook barely tried to cover up the fact that he was attacking Apple’s biggest competitor, Google Inc., during his speech.
Cook discussed how ‘certain big names in the industry’ are taking users’ information, trying to “gobble up everything they can learn about you” and using it to make money. Cook believes that these companies are collecting everything from email addresses and contact information, to family photos “for god knows what advertising purpose,” and pointed out how Apple thinks that this is wrong.
That bit about family photos was one of the direct jabs at Google. More specifically, Cook was referencing the new Google service ‘Photos,’ which he made out to be just a new tool for the creepy Google Inc. to learn more about your personal life.
Cook’s propaganda isn’t completely true (although it’s not completely false either), since this information collection is how Google manages to provide so many free services to users.
However, Cook addressed that idea as well when he said, “We don’t think you should ever have to trade it [user privacy] for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances and our homes on our devices.”
With statements like this, Cook definitely succeeded in separating Apple from its competition and establishing it as a friend of the user (and as a friend of the American citizen). He said on behalf of Apple, “We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it.”
As patriotic and inspiring as the line was, it does bring forward the question of Apple’s information usage. Is it really much better than Google’s?
The simple answer is yes in the sense that Apple collects less information than Google does, but that may just be a result of the profits that Apple is making from its other departments. Google probably needs your information to sell since it lacks that second income.
What do you think? Are Google’s free services a fair trade-off for your privacy? Plus, is Apple really doing a better job at protecting that privacy like Cook claims it is?