Two of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley have long been rivals. Whether it be iPhone vs. Android or Chrome vs. Safari, Apple and Google have never been on the friendliest of terms. Except for one, massive partnership. This year, Google is expected to pay Apple USD $15 billion to have Google be the default search engine on Safari . At first, this deal seems like a head-scratcher. After all, why would Google pay its biggest rival billions when most already prefer Google as their search engine of choice? Put simply, Google outbids others to ensure other corporations (namely, Microsoft) can’t have their search engines become the default.
In addition to the two companies’ rivalry, there is another reason why Apple and Google’s lucrative partnership is so puzzling. Specifically, the two corporations’ stance on data privacy. In recent years, Apple has highlighted its privacy features extensively, with entire marketing campaigns dedicated to showcasing Apple’s (seemingly) hard-line stance on user privacy. On the other hand, Google’s revenue depends on advertising, and thus, user data. Over 80% of Google’s revenue comes from targeted advertising . Overall, Apple and Google’s partnership shows how Big Tech companies that claim to prioritize your privacy may sacrifice that right for a big payday.
Apple’s Stance on Privacy
Just a few months ago, Apple launched a marketing campaign with the tagline “Privacy. That’s iPhone .” Clearly, Apple knows that privacy is something that the public wants, particularly in today’s Digital Age. In fact, Apple even states that “Privacy is a fundamental human right” on its website. On Apple’s site that details its privacy features, the company touts that Maps “doesn’t associate your data with your Apple ID” and that “your Apple ID isn’t connected to Siri.” Finally, Apple states that Safari “helps stop advertisers that follow you from site to site .” Clearly, Apple wants its users to believe their data is protected with them. Put simply, Apple wants to market itself as the Big Tech company that actually cares about your privacy. But is that the case?
Well, not really. While Apple is certainly better with privacy than most other Silicon Valley giants, that’s not a particularly high bar to clear. Apple still collects data in aggregate and keeps your exact maps locations for 24 hours . While Apple may say that the benefits of this data collection vastly outweigh the harms, they’re still collecting the data. But worst of all, Apple still allows apps that don’t care about privacy at all. All of Apple’s privacy features are only on its own software. If you use more popular apps, such as Google Maps, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, and others, you’re not protecting your data, even if you’re using the apps on an iPhone.
So while Apple talks a big game, and has certainly made positive steps toward a more private future, it’s still misleading to say Apple truly cares about your privacy. By still allowing data-hungry apps on its App Store, your data is still exposed on Apple’s hardware. Of course, Apple is a business, and simply not allowing these popular apps would be a massive change. However, the implication that all of your data is protected on Apple devices is simply misleading.
Google and User Privacy
While Apple has taken some steps to protect user data, Google’s entire business model depends upon the collection and sale of data. Google collects, among other things, website histories, Gmail data (including email drafts), and specific location data, even when the Google Maps app isn’t open . Google then takes that personal data and sells it, allowing companies to target their ads to specific audiences. With this hyper-specific information, Google can line its pockets with revenue, while your data is exposed to advertisers.
In fact, Google’s entire business model is the sale of user data. That’s why nearly all of Google’s products are completely free. From Google Maps to YouTube, Gmail to Drive, Google offers all of these services for free. And many have wondered how Google can offer such complicated software for no cost. The answer? Google’s software isn’t their main product. You are their main product.
For Big Tech, It’s All About Ads
Unfortunately, Google is just one of many corporations whose main product isn’t software or programs. It’s you and your data. Similar to Google, Facebook makes the vast majority of its revenue through ads. Facebook learns as much as possible about you, then uses that data to deluge your timeline with hyper-specific ads . Additionally, the goal of Amazon’s expansion into smart speakers and grocery stores isn’t just to offer a wider suite of products. It’s about gathering even more information about its customers and sharing that with advertisers .
While Facebook and Amazon both carefully state that they don’t “sell” your data to third parties, they do “share” your data with third parties. In practice, this still means advertisers can pay for access to your data. And, unfortunately, that is how most Big Tech companies operate. While these mega-corporations may offer a variety of free software and products to customers, those aren’t their main business. If they aren’t selling products or services, they’re selling you.
AXEL is Different
At AXEL, we also believe that privacy is a human right. Unlike other companies though, we don’t hide behind our slogans. AXEL takes steps to ensure your data is protected from cybercriminals and advertisers alike. From military-grade encryption to blockchain technology, AXEL offers the most stringent security for your most important data.
Additionally, with AXEL, you’re not the product. That’s why we never sell your data to any third party. We don’t offer any “too good to be true” deals while selling your data on the side. AXEL Go is a secure file-sharing and storage software that puts you in control of your data. If you’re ready to take back control of your data, try two weeks of AXEL Go for free here. After the free trial, AXEL Go is just $9.99 per month. After all, our business model is offering the best, most secure file-sharing service to all; not offering your private data to the highest bidder.
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