Google and Apple have publicly challenged calls from law enforcement agencies to weaken encryption on consumer devices. In turn, iOS 9 and Android M will sport a string of new security and privacy features for users.

Pablo Valerio, International Business & IT Consultant

June 24, 2015

2 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: Stephen Krow/iStockphoto)</p>

If they give backdoors to the FBI or GCHQ, can they continue to sell iPhones and Nexus devices in Germany and China?

During a recent event at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Apple's CEO Tim Cook was adamant about encryption.

[Take a look at Google I/O.]

"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the Constitution demands it, morality demands it," Cook said. "So let me be crystal clear -- weakening encryption, or taking it away, harms good people that are using it for the right reasons. And ultimately I believe it has a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights and undermines our country's founding principles."

Another Apple executive explained the company's policy about collecting data: "We don't mine your email, your photos, or your contacts in the cloud to learn things about you," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. "We honestly just don't want to know."

Google And Apple Still Capture Information

However, Google and Apple are not offering any restriction on their ability to collect information.

As the original writers of the code, they have the possibility to access all functions of the operating systems without limits, and they make full use of that. Apple is famous for turning on Bluetooth on iOS devices every time it sends a software upgrade in order to enable marketers to detect shoppers and send them instant offers.

I believe this is the price we have to pay to use a smartphone.

As Dan Geer, chief information security officer for In-Q-Tel, writes for the Christian Science Monitor Passcode security website: "If your personal 'expectation of privacy' is based on the impossibility of observability or even the impossibility of identifiability, then your logic [...] is temporary and weak," Geer wrote, adding, "There is no mechanistic difference whatsoever between personalization and targeting save for the intent of the analyst. To believe otherwise is to believe in the Tooth Fairy. To not care is to abandon your duty."

About the Author(s)

Pablo Valerio

International Business & IT Consultant

Pablo Valerio has been in the IT industry for 25+ years, mostly working for American companies in Europe. Over the years he has developed channels, established operations, and served as European general manager for several companies. While primarily based in Spain, he has also lived in Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark. His knowledge of the European IT business and his interest in EU technology initiatives spurred his move to technology writing. For the past four years, he has been a regular contributor to several publications in the IT ecosystem, focusing on privacy, security, mobile technology and smart cities. His work has appeared in InformationWeek, EETimes, Enterprise Efficiency, UBM Future CitiesDell's Tech Page One, and SAP Business Innovation, among others.

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