Apple security is good for consumers, but may irritate the government
Apple has been vigilant in driving home the message that its devices are secure and users are protected. The company recently updated security measures by adding two-factor authentication for its file backup service - iCloud. In a world where Google is imparting information to intelligence agencies, Edward Snowden has told the public the extent to which the government can spy on its citizens and celebrity accounts are being hacked, Apple's public relations efforts have been spot on. The company has addressed popular issues in the media without getting itself pulled into arguments and debate.
The update to iOS may irritate the government, however it should please Apple customers. In an effort to promote transparency, Apple disclosed on its website, and in press statements, what its policies and systems look like. Additionally, the company published a 43-page white paper, involving a high level of detail, explaining what the recent developments mean with regards to security.
Chief executive, Tim Cook, wrote a letter which prefaces the report, featured on Apple's website, which highlights the company's dedication to ensure privacy and security for its customers.The new security measures essentially make it impossible for anyone, other than the authorized user, including Apple itself, to access personal files on an iPhone or iPad, reported CBS News.
"Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay," Cook wrote.
Law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies may find the updates to Apple's system frustrating. Apple will not be unable to unlock phones that authorities want to use as evidence in investigations. The files on an Apple device are inaccessible to anyone except the person who creates the passwords affiliated with that device. Two-factor authentication, which can be set up on Apple's website, is expected to prevent all persons, including hackers, from accessing devices with stolen passwords.
Apple vs. Google
Several reports have surfaced detailing how other tech companies are giving user data to government agencies. Google and Yahoo have published reports which explain the circumstances in which the information was handed over. Alternatively, Apple says that it has never allowed the government access to any of their devices or systems and that it never will, reported the news source.
"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," Cook added.
The new security update by Apple is well-timed. It has become clear, through Apple statements, that the celebrity iCloud hacks were the result of stolen passwords and not the susceptibility of Apple's systems to incursion. Now the company's devices seem safer than ever.
Google recently published a report which details how it has cooperated with intelligence agencies by providing them with user information. Additionally, it is well known that Google sells user information to advertisers and online retailers. In light of such realities, Cook's statement carries gravitas. He explained that when a technology company provides a free service, the user ends up becoming the product, not the consumer, reported Forbes.
"At Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy," Cook added.