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Apple fires shot at Google in new privacy ad

·Technology Editor
·3 min read
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Apple (AAPL) released a new TV spot Thursday pointing out the iPhone’s security and privacy features and laying out thinly veiled criticisms of rivals like Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android operating system and Chrome browser and Amazon (AMZN).

The one-minute ad features a number of scenarios showcasing how Apple says it keeps users’ data safe.

There’s a man who tells everyone on a bus that he browsed for eight divorce attorneys last night, a woman having a conversation with her friend at work saying that she hates one of her coworkers, another woman telling a waitress that she purchased a pregnancy test, and a man who continuously shouts his heart rate.

The thrust of the ad is that Apple’s technology keeps all of that data safe, while competitors’ don’t. Tech giants like Google may not exactly be sharing your information with the world in the same way Apple seems to say they do, but Apple is keen on making it clear that it doesn’t harvest user data to sell advertisements, and instead leans on its own hardware and services.

The purpose of the ad is similar to a massive billboard Apple put up near the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2019, which showcased an iPhone with bold text stating, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” a play on the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” tagline.

Apple’s iPhone security has been a major flashpoint for its relationship with the Department of Justice in the past. It was the phone’s encryption that saw investigators looking into the 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino to call on Apple to create a backdoor to hack the phone held by one of the shooters.

The FBI, however, was eventually able to break into the iPhone, which ended a stalemate between Apple and the DOJ.

More recently, the 2019 terror attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida resulted in a similar showdown between the Justice Department and Apple, with the tech giant saying it had turned over all information to the government that it had.

The FBI was eventually able to break into the phone without Apple’s help.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07:  A billboard advertising Apple's iPhone security is displayed during CES 2019 on January 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs from January 8-11 and features about 4,500 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 180,000 attendees.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Apple's massive ad outside of CES 2019. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The company contends that if it creates a backdoor for law enforcement to hack suspects’ iPhones, it would eventually fall into the hands of malicious actors who would have free rein to attack every iPhone in the world.

Apple has been met with security controversies before, however, including the high-profile January hack of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ iPhone via an exploit in the app WhatsApp.

In April, security researchers claimed they discovered an exploit that could attack Apple’s native Mail app, though an update was released to address the issue.

Still, Apple views itself as, and arguably is, more privacy-minded than other tech giants like Facebook, which has repeatedly been called out ever since the Cambridge Analytica data breach in 2018.

Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com over via encrypted mail at danielphowley@protonmail.com, and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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