Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Importance of Smartphone Privacy

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently published a letter to Apple's customers concerning the company's policy on smartphone privacy. You can read it here

The document has no news for me and I'm delighted it's mostly a comment on how Apple's privacy policy is being applied to the investigation of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The letter says Apple is doing its duty to assist the FBI investigating the case, but also that the FBI will not be provided with a key to unlock all iPhone security. There is no such key in existence and it will not be created. That means Apple WILL NOT build in a back-door to its customer's data on iPhones. Many thanks to Tim Cook for making this clear!

Law enforcement authorities should not burden companies with these requests. It is not without risk. Back-doors can be misused and will be misused. Lots of wide-spread software systems contain back-doors. These are not always created by the owner of the system, but by criminals.

There exist back-door-like features that most users will welcome and the most famous may be the Find my iPhone, which can indeed find a lost iPhone, but can also remotely erase all data from a stolen iPhone, under its owners control. The great thing about that feature is that it will in the end make iPhones less desirable for thieves.

American companies may already be suffering from their government's poking its nose into all kinds of electronic devices and services. People are becoming more aware of the possibilities of surveillance and outright data theft. This opens possibilities to companies in other jurisdictions taking market shares. I'm talking about trust, which I've mentioned earlier on this blog. Once trust is lost, rebuilding it is at best a hard struggle, and I think trust is actually never rebuilt. Governments should not ask of its companies to help it combat terrorists, which they could have avoided by properly screening immigrants. Here's hoping more companies show the stamina Apple has.

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