Betteridge’s Law of Headlines meets up with pragmatism and comes to the same conclusion. No. Technology companies are no different than politicians or your boss. They cannot be trusted.
That said, it’s obvious that we’re talking about relative trust vs. absolute trust and that brings us to a different answer. For example, who do you trust more? Google? Apple? Microsoft? Samsung? Likely Apple is higher on the list.
Trust, But Verify
Humanity demands and receives a measure of trust in almost every endeavor. As we’re driving down the street we have to trust that we can keep our vehicle between the white lines. We have to trust that a driver and vehicle coming toward us will stay in their own lane. We buy a house or car based upon a measure of trust that we’ll still be employed and can pay the bills when they become due.
Trust is an inherent part of humankind, but it’s relative trust, not absolute trust. A child may trust parents more than the parents trust their neighbors who don’t trust their employers as much as they once did.
So, to answer the headline in absolutes: No, no technology company can be trusted 100-percent of the time. Trust we extend is relative. For example, Apple customers have trusted the company with privacy and security more than, say, Microsoft, and certainly more than Google. Yet, recently, we saw Apple throttle iPhone performance to mask battery issues– that created a trust vacuum and PR nightmare. On the Mac, it was discovered that macOS High Sierra had a few severe security problems and even the quick fix had problems.
It’s not as though Windows or Android do not have such issues– those for the Mac and iOS pale in significance and number to their rivals, but a breach of trust is a breach.
I’ve used iCloud long enough to trust it with my photos in Photos. But not enough to trust it 100-percent, so the master copy is saved on my Mac, and a copy stored online in Amazon’s S3 storage, thanks to Arq backups.
See? Trust. But verify.
For my online purchases I use a single credit card– not a debit card. And credit card limit is, well, limited. It’s also the same card– and the only one I use for iPhone and Watch.
Trust. Verify. But limit the options that can reduce privacy invasions and security problems.
How well does Apple manage our expectations for enhanced privacy and security options? Until recently, quite well. There are few instances of malware on iOS and Apple can push security updates to macOS users with ease. Apple does not pat itself on the back as being the torchbearer for privacy and security to avoid additional attacks to the platforms.
A brand brings with it a level of implied trust. Google’s colorful, playful logo is there for a reason. A sinister company that takes away user privacy and security without asking wouldn’t have a mean or angry looking logo, would it? Apple’s logo implies trust based upon a billion customers. Google’s logo is innocent looking but belies what goes on behind the scenes, deep within the bowels of digital darkness.
Who do you trust more? Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, or Google?
That’s the correct order, right?