Apple CEO Tim Cook is engaged in a war against those who would abuse personal privacy for profits. No names have been named but the fingers clearly point to Facebook and Google. Who pays for Apple’s war against those who abuse our privacy?
Cook on the data-industrial complex:
Platforms and algorithms that promised 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. This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy.
We are being surveilled by Facebook and Google and Apple is… insert the famous drumroll here… kinda sorta sometimes fighting back. And Google is paying the bill. How so?
Apple puts Google as the default search engine on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and, in turn, Google pays Apple a few billion dollars a year for the privilege.
What does Apple do with the money?
Yes, Apple executives get huge bonuses, but a minuscule portion of the billions is used to put privacy options and tools in Safari that most users do not know about and seldom use.
Look at what we’ve done with the controls we’ve built in. We have private web browsing. We have an intelligent tracker prevention. What we’ve tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day.
Controls? That consideration is laughable.
Yes, those are anemic controls that most Safari users do not understand or do not implement– including the option for extensions which inhibit ads and trackers. Private Web Browsing? Google had a workaround within days. Apple could build simple controls into Safari, or, even better, into iOS and macOS, that would inhibit all such tracking, but instead prefers to offer users anemic and somewhat hidden tools which have little impact upon the likes of Facebook and Google.
Technology is good or evil, as you put it, depending upon the creator and many times it’s not that the creator set out to do evil it’s that there wasn’t an anticipation of these negative things that it could be used for.
Should Apple be shamed over its hypocritical willingness to reap profits from a company it considers to be unethical? Sure. But this is just how Apple rolls. It makes some great decisions and some great devices. It also uses terrible labor practices for assembling those devices, opposes the right to repair, and contributes to untold amounts of e-waste.
Cook is relying on the fact that Facebook, Google, and other online entities have a public perception of being even more evil than Apple. Google may be paying for some of the expenses Apple incurs in the privacy wars but most of what the search engine giant pays Apple remains as it always has. Pure profits.