Tim Cook: Thoughts on Privacy

Tim Cook:

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

A one-two punch at Google and Facebook.

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Never is a long time, but sounds good. Just to be clear: “less than 0.00385% of customers had data disclosed due to government information requests.” This is from Apple. Assuming what Tim Cook said is true, it is technically true. No backdoors. No access to servers. But Apple has worked with government agencies to disclose customer data. Apple also received national security-related requests, less than 250 in the first six months of 2014.

On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.

So make sure to establish a passcode. The only way Apple can disclose customer data to government requests is via iCloud.