Not that many years ago Apple developed something of a friendship with the largest offenders in the online tracker world. Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al found their way into Apple’s graces.
How does the technology company that supposedly defends privacy find itself in cahoots with the scourge of online trackers that infest humanity?
Google’s search engine is the default on Safari. Yes, you can change it to Bing, Yahoo!, or even DuckDuckGo, but most people don’t bother. Google is a verb for a reason. It’s also the world’s most pervasive online tracker and as anti-privacy as you can get without being a paranoid dictator.
Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In are available as Internet Accounts, too, and none of them are considered privacy advocates. Yet, they too are embedded into Internet Accounts on the Mac, and the former duo once had a seat at the Settings table for iPhone and iPad.
In other words, Apple was very friendly with the giants of online tracking. What happened?
Privacy has become an important part of Apple’s package of features for customers, while taking privacy away from users who ride free on Google and Facebook and Twitter has gained notoriety and the scourge of public disdain.
macOS 10.14 Mojave is just a few months away and Internet Accounts will no longer be the home of easy integration for Facebook, Twitter, and from what I can tell, Linked In. Instead, Internet Accounts in Mojave will focus on email and Mail, Contacts and Calendar, Messages and other applications approved by Apple– iCloud, Exchange, top the list.
Apple got too close to the privacy fire. Guilt by association. Google, Facebook, and others have come under government scrutiny around the world, as well as capturing public and media attention for their wayward ways with user privacy.
Apple is more about privacy than information collection, so it was necessary to segregate itself from those who abuse their users. Besides, for Apple, there’s no money in capturing such information from customers, so walking away is easy.
What took you so long, Apple? Or, maybe more appropriately, when will the distancing be complete?
After all, Google remains the default search engine in Safari on macOS and iOS? Why? Apple gets a few billion dollars in sheer profit from Google for the privilege. We’ll know Apple is serious about privacy for customers when, before using Safari for the first time after an update, Apple provides a pop up that asks customers which search engine they want, and explains which ones are more private and secure.
Apple’s friendship with online trackers has gone on too long.