See A message from Tim Cook and especially Government Information Requests. It’s good; well-written and clear. Plus, there’s a news story; as of iOS 8, Apple can’t unlock a random iPhone. Mind you, this is also an Apple marketing piece.
Grumblers · I hear a certain amount of grumbling along the lines of “It’s a bunch of lies, Snowden said PRISM is pulling the goodies straight outta the servers.” Also, “Encryption is useless because a determined adversary will route around it.”
I’m pretty sure both those arguments are crap. While nobody can know 100% for sure, it’s increasingly looking like the claims in those PRISM Powerpoints were, um, a little inflated. I tend to believe Cook (and his peers at the other Internet giants) when he says “…we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers.”
Second, of course no encryption is ever perfect; as James Mickens points out, if an organization like the Mossad thinks they need to getcha, they’re gonna getcha. But remember that with privacy, It’s the economics, stupid.
So yeah, I believe Apple is doing substantially the right thing about privacy.
It’s marketing, too · Apple’s privacy docs stress that they “don’t monetize” your information and in Privacy Built In, are full of references to the regrettable practices of “other companies” who gather and use your information. Let me translate: “Google and Facebook store your information and make money from it, tsk tsk.”
So why don’t Google and Facebook and so on just stop doing that, and be nice like Apple? The trade-off is unsubtle: Google and Facebook and so on give their products away for free; Apple doesn’t.
I think it’s 100% OK to raise the world’s consciousness about the issues with using free ad-supported products. Also, I’d welcome the opportunity to pay approximately what the advertisers do for access to Google’s goodies. Unfortunately, I suspect I’m in a small minority. But still, I wish they’d try.
Anyhow, good for Apple. I hope this pushes the whole industry in the right direction.