iOS 9, Android M Place New Focus On Security, Privacy

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.

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."