Saturday, January 28, 2012

Apple Should Tackle Privacy

The iPhone 4S just went on sale in China. I am sure it's selling like hot cakes, regardless of what possible shortcomings Apple might have put into place to keep Beijing happy.

For instance, I about my friends in China are able to sign into Twitter since the microblog site is essentially blocked. (I just sent out an inquiry on Weibo about Twitter what what possible replacement Apple might have or have not offered Chinese customers.)

And while Facebook or twitter being blocked in China, Iran, and the likes, this is more of a censorship issue. Dealing with foreign censorship is something that Washington or the State Department should deal with But I like to see Apple tackle the privacy issue.

I started using a new search engine called Duckduckgo. It's an alternative to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others that make it their mission to track our travels across the Internet and sell that information essentially to their advertisers.

Now, Apple has already put the stop to the newspaper and magazine publishers from wholesale access to its iOS users, I like to see Apple go a step further.

It's already been suggested that with Siri, Apple has positioned itself between its users and those services that are collecting information through conventional Internet means.

One of the things that Apple lack is a social network. Apple took a stab at it with Ping and we know how well that turned out. Even Apple's Game Center isn't quite where I like it to be. There is no direct interaction between users.

In iOS 5 with the inclusion of Twitter and iMessage, Apple may be taking its first baby step toward building a social network in the sense that its native apps like iMessage could act as the top layer overseeing other social networks like Twitter and maybe even others like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and others even Microsoft's Xbox Live.

This could potentially give iOS users greater control over which network they like to share with and how.

See, part of the failure of Ping was that Facebook wanted greater access to iTunes information that Apple was unwilling to share.

It was a bad move on Apple part in trying to deal with Facebook at that point. But I reckon that Apple has learned from that. And today, things are much more different.

Apple has sold over sixty million iOS devices in the last Christmas quarter and shows no sign of slowing down. Apple may enter the living room war with an assault on the traditional television in one form or another.

Social networks would be foolish not to deal with Apple if Tim Cook comes calling even if Apple has restrictive terms that social networks and even search engines must comply with to protect iOS user privacy.

We won't know for sure until Apple shows its hands with future product and OS updates so there is a lot of uncertainty in just how Apple will mother over its users and the information it has collected.

Personally, I like to see more of what Siri is capable of once it's out of beta and whether iMessage expands beyond being a SMS killer.

And it is entirely possible that Apple guarding the privacy of iOS users are accidental. Nevertheless, it's definitely better than how Facebook, Google, and other companies that profit off information they collected from their users.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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