Apple’s stance on privacy and data security appears to be stronger than ever, as the company has published an entire new privacy section on its website, complete with an important privacy-related message from CEO Tim Cook. The pages also include details on how Apple handles private data, what users can do to protect their Apple IDs used to log into iTunes and iCloud, and what information the company shares with law enforcement agencies.
This isn’t the first time Apple highlights user privacy when talking about its products – most recently Cook extensively talked about privacy in a lengthy interview with Charlie Rose, and before that (at WWDC 2014) Apple highlighted various privacy-oriented features in upcoming iOS and OS X releases.
From the looks of it, Apple appears interested in making privacy one of the flagship features of its products. Sure, some may say Apple is doing it to divert attention from NSA-related reports that reveal how easy it is for spies to tap into smartphones or from the recent “Nudesgate” leak scandal that raised questions about Apple’s iCloud scandal right before Apple’s iPhone 6 event, or simply to offer a different stance on private data than competing companies, including Google, Amazon and others who collect data using their smart products.
But Cook’s new privacy-defending manifesto shows that Apple is really committed to protecting the privacy of its users, and might just be the most important open letter the exec has written so far while atop of one of the most important companies in tech.
In his letter, Cook reiterates some of the things he told Rose a few days ago, taking hits at Google, addressing iOS backdoor reports and spy-related concerns, and mentioning details about Apple’s own advertising business.
“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer,” Cook wrote. “You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.”
“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple,” the exec added, taking obvious hits at Google.
The entire message “from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy,” a read that may remind certain fans about Steve Jobs’ famous “Thoughts on Flash” letter, follows below, and it’s available at the source link below, where you’ll find additional pages describing how Apple is handling user privacy.
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy.
At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled.
Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay. And we continue to make improvements. Two-step verification, which we encourage all our customers to use, in addition to protecting your Apple ID account information, now also protects all of the data you store and keep up to date with iCloud.
We believe in telling you up front exactly what’s going to happen to your personal information and asking for your permission before you share it with us. And if you change your mind later, we make it easy to stop sharing with us. Every Apple product is designed around those principles. When we do ask to use your data, it’s to provide you with a better user experience.
We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why. We’re going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.
A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.
Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.
Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.
Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.