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Google vs Apple: How Business Models Drive Disrespect vs Respect for Privacy
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2011-05-06 15:13
How business models are aligned or not with users' privacy interests, will be spotlighted at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday on "Protecting Mobile Privacy" featuring Google and Apple officials as witnesses.
While the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy will hear from both Google and Apple witnesses on how their companies handle users' WiFi location data, their testimony will provide stark contrast in the companies' privacy conflicts of interests.
Google vs Apple concerning alignment with users' interests:
Second, Google has no customer service or retail outlets to serve users because they don't work for users, whereas Apple has a large customer service operation and hundreds of consumer-friendly retail stores.
Third, concerning the WiFi location information at question in the hearing, Google Android devices send location information on users back to Google's data centers roughly a thousand times a day, where it is integrated with other private information as part of an extensive user advertising profile.
Fourth, concerning the propriety of tracking mobile device users without their meaningful permission, Google's position communicated by spokespeople is that Google does not track individuals (because it anonymizes the data), and Google allows users to opt out.
Lastly, Google is the only major browser provider that opposes Do Not Track legislation -- like has been passed in the California Senate Committee, like Senate Commerce Chairman Rockefeller is introducing next week, and like Congressmen Barton and Markey plan to introduce in the House -- whereas Apple offers a Do Not track capability on its Safari browser like all other major browser providers do.
In sum, this latest Google privacy scandal, WiSpy II, and the Senate hearing that will spotlight it for the public, puts the concept of "privacy conflict of interest" at center stage of the privacy debate.
The starkly different Google and Apple business model examples show that who a company works for drives whether it is in that company's business interest to disrespect or respect users' privacy.
In a word, who would you more likely trust with your privacy?