Jane Horvath, the company’s senior director of global privacy, defended the company’s use of encryption at CES’s CIO roundtable forum,media reported.
‘The iPhone is easy to lose or stolen, so Apple needs to make sure that the device is encrypted to protect the health and data stored on it and the data that is being made,” Horvath said during the discussion.
The FBI recently again asked Apple to help it obtain information on an iPhone owned by the gunman who killed three people at a Florida naval base in December. The gunman was dead, but his phone was locked and encrypted so investigators couldn’t get data from the device.
“A month ago, when the FBI asked us to provide information about this case, we provided them with all the data we had, and we will continue to support them with the data we have,” Apple said in a statement released Tuesday local time. “
Apple regularly responds to search warrants, allowing investigators access to data stored on its servers, such as a user’s iCloud account information. However, Apple has in the past refused to help authorities unlock the iPhone to get data on the device. The company also argues that the security and encryption of the iPhone means that Apple can’t access the information even if it wants to.
For years, Apple and U.S. law enforcement agencies have clashed over balancing enforcement authority with user privacy, most notably the FBI’s attempt to decrypt a terrorist’s iPhone in 2015. But Apple refused to help, and the FBI eventually turned to other companies to unlock it.
During the CES discussion, Horvath focused on promoting Apple’s strict privacy standards and measures to protect users. Apple’s goal, she says, is to “give consumers control of the steering wheel” and ensure they have complete control over their data. Apple began with a strong focus on privacy, explaining: “For every new product, even in the upcoming design phase, we have privacy engineers and privacy lawyers working with the team. “
Horvath also praised Apple’s commitment to privacy. “Tim Cook is very focused on privacy, and that’s what runs through the company,” she says. Asked if the tech industry was “doing enough” to protect user privacy, Horvath explained: “I don’t think we’re doing enough, we should do more.” Things are changing, and it’s not clear that we’ve found a panacea. “
However, FTC Commissioner Slauter questioned the privacy chiefs’ claims that she was “concerned that the entire responsibility for protecting personal data is with consumers.” In response, Horvath outlined some of Apple’s consumer protection practices, such as the default setting for Apple devices, which use random identifiers in Siri and Apple Maps instead of tracking specific personal accounts.
In the CES forum, Horvath also described how Apple minimizes data collection by collecting information that is not relevant to specific users. She gives a specific example related to Siri: When you ask Siri about the weather, Apple will only use your city’s data to avoid collecting more specific location information. But if you ask Siri to help find a nearby grocery store, Siri enters latitude and longitude data to make sure it gives accurate recommendations nearby.
It is clear that Apple’s business model is very different from Facebook’s, as Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, has admitted. In Egan’s view, however, the two companies’ goal of protecting privacy is no different. “Our business model is different than Apple’s, but we’re all committed to privacy,” she said. We offer different services, but that doesn’t mean who pays more attention to privacy. “
Some of the hardware running Facebook software, including the Oculus virtual reality helmet, can process data on devices, Egan said. But she says many of Facebook’s sharing-related features need cloud computing to help. She also said Facebook only collects the information it needs to operate its services and work with advertisers.