The growing number of credit card database breaches– affecting perhaps hundreds of millions of customers– should alert us to this obvious trend (not to mention government surveillance without cause or due process)– Privacy and security are under attack. Who will stand as the champions for our privacy and information security?
Thieves In Wolves’ Clothing
Privacy and security is an area where three major technology companies compete, and each has a different track record.
Google’s former CEO and now Chairman, Eric Schmidt pronounced Android’s fragmented platform as more secure than Apple’s walled garden iOS; iPhone and iPad.
Maybe so, though the good Doctor didn’t elaborate or even define security in context. The folks at Cisco disagree, though, stating that Android is the target of 99-percent of the world’s mobile malware.
Google makes most of its revenue and profits from selling advertisements and collecting data from customers. Is it safe to say Google won’t be a champion for privacy or security?
Microsoft’s track record rather distinct, too, what with the largest number of malware existing on Windows PCs. Microsoft also tries to make money selling advertisements on Bing, Google’s only real search engine competition, so the Windows maker trackers users, too.
Is it safe to say that Microsoft isn’t a champion for privacy and won’t be a champion for security?
Where Are The Champions?
That leaves Apple, who’s track record is somewhat mixed. In practical terms (not theoretical possibilities), both the Mac’s OS X and iPhone and iPad’s iOS are more secure than Windows and Android, thanks to the curated app approach. Apple promotes both privacy and security on their products.
For example, Apple’s Mac App Store apps and iOS App Store apps features sandboxing, a security mechanism to restrict resource access to specific areas that do not interact with other apps. Yet, Apple sells advertisements and tracks some user information. What information? And where does it go and how does it get used? Apple won’t say.
As much as it pains me to say it, there really doesn’t appear to be a solid, dependable, publicly visible technology champion for privacy or security. Google, Microsoft, and even Apple, to one degree or another, are guilty of paying lip service to what may be the most important issues of our era (short of climate change, cyber-attacks, national debt, et al).
I want my information to be private. I want my personal data (financial records, health records, government records, and anything on the devices I use) to be secure and remain private.
Where is my champion?