By Cody Medwechuk
Apple’s bold stance on data privacy puts the company in a unique PR position that has the potential to boost its reputation as a major tech company.
The case in question
On February 16, Apple publicly chose to oppose a United States court order that would have forced the company to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of a suspect who was a part of the San Bernardino attacks in December 2015.
Apple quickly released “A Message to Our Customers” the same day, explaining the need for encryption and the threat to data security. The message is signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, and this isn’t the first time he’s chosen to speak up on an important issue.
“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Making a strong public stance may not align Apple with the popular opinions of its customers. By putting itself at odds with its own government, Apple put itself in a situation that other companies would purposefully avoid.
Security as feature
Apple has always been a strong proponent of data privacy for its customers. The company has always promoted iOS and Mac OS as highly secure platforms. At times to the detriment of its own features when compared to Google Now, which offers suggestions to users based on their private data.
Standing strong on its data policy, Apple is showing its customers that it takes privacy very seriously. It reinforces the branding it has established and shows its willingness to fight for its customers.
As this case unfolds, Google, Twitter and Facebook have slowly come out to support Apple. It does send a message that the biggest tech companies of Silicon Valley are standing together.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
— Jack (@jack) February 18, 2016
This is likely going to be a long legal battle, but after the dust settles, Apple has a chance to sit in front of the competition, not afraid to fight for what is right for its customers.
(Image Source: Flickr/ Kārlis Dambrāns)