Privacy is one of our biggest concerns in this digital age. Conglomerates are being accused of using data as a commodity that can be bought and sold. Every day, governments and concerned authorities are coming up with new laws to regulate the usage and storage of private data. However, data breach is getting more common by the day. This is what we’re going to discuss today in our latest episode of In Conversation With. With us, we have two… erm… ‘fans’ who use ‘we’ while talking about corporations they have no affiliation with. Let’s have a big round of applause for both the Apple ‘fan’ and Google ‘fan’, here to represent their beloved capitalistic entities on their privacy policies. Everybody, this is In Conversation With: Apple vs. Google on Privacy.
Before we begin, a disclaimer: All characters in this little skit are purely fictional, from the Host to both the Apple and Google fans. The fictional fans are merely representing both companies and these are in no way actual official statements. Please don’t sue us haha.
Host: Let’s welcome Apple and Google fans to the stage, who are here to represent the corporate entities they follow. (No one’s asked them; they just started arguing out of nowhere.) We’ll start off with an opening statement from both of you. You have a prescribed 50-word limit in which you have to put forward your company’s stand on privacy. Is that clear?
Apple: Fifty words for Google and Privacy? Please. They can do it in five: “Nothing is private with Google.”
Google: Really? Everyone knows who uses a PR advertisement as a cover. You’re going to need a complete ad script to make your statement, right?
Host: Gentlemen, we request you to refrain from any trash talks during the opening statement. (pause) We do that in the Mayhem Round.
Apple: Fine. I won’t even need the word limit. The audience knows who to trust. At Apple, it is as we say: Privacy. That’s iPhone.
Host: … Wait, that’s it?
Apple (shrugging): Mm… yeah. Pretty much. Works everywhere else.
Host: Fair enough. Google?
Google: We mean it when we say this: When you use our services, you’re trusting us with your information. We understand this is a big responsibility and work hard to protect your information and put you in control.
Apple: What a load of—
Host: Language, please.
Host (to the crowd): Alright. We’ve seen the two opening statements. While Apple went with its classic “That’s iPhone” line from the famous commercial (crowd cheers), Google, on the other hand, went with a sentimental and professional statement (cheering stops). We now move to the debate round.
Host: So, Apple, everyone talks about your customer data being more private than Google’s. But you know that Google is not a benchmark, right? Do you have a valid reason, other than your comparison with Google, with which you can validate your claim of protecting user data?
Apple: Apple is a hardware company. Any collective effort that the team makes goes towards perfection of our products. Unlike some companies, our revenue model does not revolve around advertisements. And hence, we have no intention of using our user data for any other thing than improvement.
Host: “But isn’t Apple apparently generating billions in ad revenue? Plus, Apple IS moving towards services, right? We’ve got Apple Music and Apple TV+. And in order to enhance those services, would you not use user behavioural data?”
Apple: Well, there’s a difference between using user data to perfect services and using it to show ads.
Google (chiming in softly): Your code isn’t exactly open source. So, all people have is your word.
Apple: Well, it’s still better than yours.
Google: Not even close. We’re upfront about what we do. We intimate our users on the data we use and have enhanced privacy on the Google Assistant where a user can delete their data with just a voice command. Google never sells this user data to any third party. We have also introduced regular privacy checkups to ensure that users are constantly in touch with what they share with us.
Apple: You say you protect user data from everyone else. But what about protecting people from YOU? What about people who receive ads even after they’ve opted out?
Google: We use the data to improve our services, including relevant, at-a-click search, recommendation engines, and personalised ads. We don’t want our users to be greeted by any irrelevant ad when they wake up. We’re also pushing our users for continuous privacy checkups. You see, everything from our end is validated. We don’t leave anything on our word, unlike some.
Apple: Big talk.Weren’t you the ones using user behavioural data for political purposes?
Phone rings. Incoming call: Facebook.
Apple (to Google): I take it back. It wasn’t you.
Host: Alright. Moving on to our next round. In the Rapid Fire round, you will be given a series of words, to which you have to reply with the first thing that comes to your mind. Clear?
Host: Alright. Google, you’re up first.
- Apple – PR
- Privacy – Oath
- Data – Analy— Er, privacy. Yes. Privacy.
Google: Yes. Definitely.
Host: Cool. Now, Apple.
- Google – Surveillance
- Privacy – iPhone
- Data – Protection
Host: Ha! On point.
Host: Alright. Moving on to the third and the final round now. Both the candidates will have two chances to roast the other. No slang, and watch your language. But remember, the round is called Mayhem for a reason. Go!
Apple: I was an iPhone user. Last month I switched to an Android phone. I now have 4-5 people from Call Centres calling me every day to buy ABC products. Finally, I took their advice. I’m buying an iPhone again.
Host (to Google): Ooh. That must’ve hurt. How do you respond?
Google: Well, I could give a response. But talking to someone who’s disregarding targeted ads just because they’ve tried and failed burns my iEyes.
Host (looks at Apple): Ouch.
Apple: Funny, because I don’t trust iPeasants who use Google and Privacy in the same sentence.
Google: Ooh, jeez. Look at me. I’m iExpensive! I just care about iAdvertisements on data privacy and incomplete jargons in my privacy agreements that people can never understand!
Apple: That’s really mature. How old is your Google Assistant again?
Google: Old enough for Siri to…
Host: Ookay, I think that’s enough.
In Conclusion: Apple vs. Google on Privacy
Well, folks. Looks like the Apple vs. Google privacy discussion might never see an end. Let’s sum up all that we know. On the one hand, we have Apple that values privacy (as evident from multiple TVCs). But with Apple heading more and more towards services, public opinion may be quick to turn against them. (Case in point: the recently-delayed CSAM detection features the company had announced recently.) But this is Apple we’re talking about. Privacy. That’s iPhone.
On the other hand, we have Google who has been slapped with many privacy lawsuits over the years. And though it claims that Google Pixels are secure and users can opt out of data sharing and personalisation… Well, it’s Google we’re talking about.
That’s it for today, people. Stay tuned and let us know which companies you want face-to-face for our next edition of In Conversation With. Till then, live long and prosper.