Monday, 8 June 2015

Is Apple’s CEO Right on Attacking Facebook & Google on Privacy?

Asking someone about their presence on Facebook is like asking a question if the water is wet. According to the We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile 2015 report, there are about 3.010 billion active internet users worldwide out of which 2.078 have active social media accounts. About 1.685 Billion own active, mobile social accounts. Market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts in 2015 whereas Google+ has 300 million users.

We all love using Facebook. It is similar a daily diary in which we share our day-to-day life events. Sharing pictures, videos, status updates, and personal details is a regular routine. Likewise, using Google apps & Gmail is a common practice as well to carry out business activities, personal mails etc. With all this whole load of offers made by these social media platforms, people are quite satisfied. But along with such facilities, a question on privacy still remains.

However, Apple’s CEO Peter Cook criticized Google & Facebook on grounds of advertising-supported business models for their disregard for users’ privacy. He was of the view that some of the most prominent companies at Silicon Valley have been successful in building up their businesses on the basis of personal information that is being shared by their customers. The customers are assured about the safety of their private data but according to Cook, this is not really the case. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.” Cook said.

Well, he did not name any company specifically apart from Google. He attacked Google’s new photo service. Through this facility, Google has given Photos users free, unlimited storage for pictures and videos at the highest resolutions used by average smartphone owners. Reacting to this Cook said, “We believe the customer should be in control of their own information. You might like these so-called free services, but we don’t think they’re worth having your email, your search history and now even your family photos data mined and sold off for god knows what advertising purpose. We think someday, customers will see this for what it is.”
Mr. Cook might be right in many ways but a bit of hypocrisy can be observed as its App Store distributes the apps of these companies to the iOS devices bought by its customers. Likewise, Apple was also targeted on security concerns back in November 2014. The security researcher Jeffery Paul discovered that several of his personal files had been automatically uploaded to Apple’s iCloud Storage service.

Looks like the rivalry among these companies has a long way to go. These are some possible attacks that would be made by either of the parties. Cook does show concern on privacy matters but should also be worried about the Apple’s privacy terms also. Till then what users need to do is act smart by not sharing too much of the personal information on different platoforms, striking a good balance.

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