Google, Apple lock horns over privacy

The Privacy War is officially underway, and it’s starting to get nasty.

Apple has made big headlines in privacy over the past month, encrypting information on phones so even law enforcement can’t access it and stressing its commitment to security in a letter from CEO Tim Cook. But Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, for one, is unimpressed.

“We have always been the leader in security and encryption,” he told CNNMoney this week. “Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They’re catching up, which is great.”

To be fair, Apple CEO Tim Cook fired the first shot. In an interview last month with journalist Charlie Rose, Cook noted widespread concerns about personal information collected by “companies like Google.” He suggested that Apple’s commitment to privacy runs deeper because it is in the business of selling gadgets, rather than targeted ads.

“We take a very different view of this than a lot of other companies have. Our view is, when we design a new service, we try not to collect data,” he said. “So we’re not reading your email. We’re not reading your iMessage.”

Schmidt objected strenuously to Cook’s characterization of the Mountain View-based search giant.

“Someone didn’t brief him correctly on Google’s policies,” Schmidt told CNNMoney. “It’s unfortunate for him.”

Civil liberties advocates are delighted to see the two tech titans bickering over whose privacy policies are strongest.

“It’s heartening to see a major American company conclude that it’s a business advantage to protect its users’ privacy and security,” UC Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump told technology news site Ars Technica. “Two years ago that would have been unheard of, and it suggests that there is real momentum building behind the idea that the government’s grabs of privately held data have gone too far.”

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says his company, not Apple, is the real leader in privacy (Jung Yeon-Je AFP—Getty Images). 

 

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  • They’re both lying, and badly. Both companies have enabled tracking you from their devices or web pages, and in reality you cannot disable either, no matter their disclaimers.

 
 
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