Apple has taken personal data security as a way of distinguishing themselves from Google. Now all the right people – the snoops – are getting angry. To me, that sounds like a pretty good endorsement!
FILE – In this April 30, 2015 file photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook responds to a question during a news conference at IBM Watson headquarters, in New York. The dispute over whether Apple must help the FBI hack into a terror suspect’s iPhone is about to play out in a Southern California courtroom. The hearing Tuesday, March 22, in U.S. District Court in Riverside is the first in the battle that has seen Cook and FBI Director James Comey spar over issues of privacy and national security. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Apple has previously made things difficult for government snoops, but in the end government was able to defeat them. So Apple increased their efforts, and now the new OS is making things even harder on snoops. Says Ubergizmo:
According to Detective Jason Friedman from the Fairfax County Police computer forensics department, “It’s very frustrating for law enforcement because it makes our job much more difficult to support the community.” He adds, “Most of the forensics community in law enforcement has known for a while, through the Apple IOS 11 betas, that security was going to be even more difficult and hamper law enforcement’s ability to extract data.”
This isn’t just about Face ID. This is about the underlying design of the hardware-software interaction, to keep your data in your control.
But Apple isn’t just locking government out. They’re also getting online advertisers angry by going beyond Do Not Track, and actively seeking to block their cookies:
In an open letter to Apple obtained by AdWeek, the [online ad] organizations say, “Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful. Put simply, machine-driven cookie choices do not represent user choice; they represent browser-manufacturer choice.”
Here’s the problem with this statement: Apple gave the advertisers a chance to honor customer choice, with the Do Not Track flag. Advertisers willfully chose to ignore that flag, and chose to track people anyway. So they had the chance to be honest, chose to be scummy, and now they pay the price.
Apple has chosen in recent years to adopt an old-school approach to hardware sales. Unlike the Microsoft model, which divorced software from hardware and made money on licensing, or the Google model, which gave away cloud software for free and made money selling data about you, Apple is trying to sell hardware and software integrated in a single, coherent package. Politics aside, they seek to stay in business by giving you a good experience as a customer.
Not bowing to government or advertising snoops is a great way to do that, in my view. As a customer, that trumps whatever eccentric politics Tim Cook may express.