Privacy News Apple slams Android as a 'massive tracking device' in internal slides revealed in Google antitrust battle


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Nov 10, 2017
The US Department of Justice released a series of documents in its antitrust trial against Google yesterday, including documents that reveal Apple made its default search deal with the Chocolate Factory despite considerable privacy reservations.

Among the dump of documents released by the DoJ Thursday was an internal Apple slide deck that was an exhibit entered into the case when Apple's SVP of services Eddy Cue testified in September.

Cue reportedly told the court that Apple made its $18 to $20 billion deal with Google to make the search giant the default on Apple gear because there wasn't a valid alternative engine.

But, as the now-public – but still largely redacted – slide deck indicates, Apple considered Google far from perfect on issues of privacy. One slide referred to Android as "a massive tracking device" – no way, really? – while others point out how much better of a job Apple considered itself to be doing on privacy versus Google when it came to how the pair handle data from user accounts, maps, search, and ads.

Remember that Apple offers an OS (iOS) and browser (Safari) that rivals Google's Android and Chrome, so it's not too surprising to see Cupertino slag off its Silicon Valley neighbor.

Included in Apple's slides is also an oft-quoted statement from then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt: in 2010, the chief exec told a Washington policy forum that "Google's policy is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it."

The 2013-era slides describe, in typical modest fashion for Apple, its overall approach at the time to privacy. It's mainly things like trying to keep people's Siri and Maps usage separate from advertising, targeted or otherwise. Google - Apple claimed - did much the opposite and commingled all its user, services, and advertising data.

Thing is, Apple talks about its love of privacy safeguards and how much it thinks Google is a fiend with people's data, but take a look at how it operates in reality. While it has been baking a decent amount of information security into its software and hardware – just see this Apple PDF – Cupertino can be accused of being two-faced.

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ForgottenSeer 97327

This year I started to give practice classes (as a field experience teacher) on project management to bachelor students occasionally.

At the end of a discussion on employers tracking their workforce through the devices they use (is allowed in NL as long as the employer informs their workers and there is a legitimate business justification), half of the students opinion is that employers should not have that right or at least should have the option to switch it off.

Then I ask the students whether they know about:
1. The unique advertising ID on their mobile/laptop
2. Log into other service automatically using their main (email) account.
3. Allow devices to connect to your other devices
4. Sync their browsers across devices
5. Geo location on

Then I help them to find their Maps (history) timeline and look at their reactions: about 80 percent does not care, the other twenty percent is somewhat concerned, but only half (so 10%) is interested where the privacy check can be found on the school cloud. When I see them for their next session (usually 4 weeks later) sometimes (with luck) only one student actually has done something about it.

So for the younger generation it seems that privacy is a non-issue or (to quote from a famous movie classic): "frankly me dear, I don't give a damn"

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