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Does Apple "Care" About Our Privacy?

This post was originally a Mac Power Users thread.

One of the questions that started a discussion, was (paraphrased) whether Apple “cares about the privacy of its users”.

I think these are some important nuances to Apple’s decisions surrounding privacy:

  • Sometimes Apple will make something more private because they hope it will be a selling point. I don’t mind that at all! That’s “just as nefarious” as them making something good because it will sell.
  • Other times, Apple will make something more private that just so happens to benefit Apple and harm their competitors. A good example here, is them locking down the NFC chip on iPhones. (Here’s a good post discussing this.)
  • And sometimes they’ll do something that benefits them even though it’s bad for their users' privacy. For instance, they don’t mind tracking us to serve us ads, as long as they’re the ones doing it.

And the billions they accept from Google, to make their search the default in Safari, is another example of the latter.

If Apple really cared about our privacy, they would, of course, choose a default that doesn’t track us — like DuckDuckGo. And it feels a bit hollow when they’re like “Yeah, we care about your privacy — but not like not-accept-$20-billion-for-free-care, you know!"

So, while I do think “privacy” is an argument for choosing Apple products, I think they’ve proven that they don’t care about our privacy. Whether that matters, is a different question! ☺️

(This discussion also spurred me to write about my search engine of choice, Kagi.)