Okay, it’s a survey. Surveys must be very well constructed. They must be repeated. They must be analyzed for the soundness of their methodology. The sampling is crucial. They must be put in perspective. That said, this survey by Morining Consult, published by Business Insider, shows that 69 percent of those surveyed trust Amazon to keep their data secure. Apple’s number was 60 percent.
The margin over Apple isn’t dramatic, but the effect does bear some inspection. Why didn’t Apple win in this race more dramatically?
After all, Apple went to enormous ends, hiring the best attorneys on the planet in the spring of 2016 to battle the FBI. Apple’s approach, along with others organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), argued that the public has a right to be secure in their smartphone data and its privacy protections. A government mandated backdoor (or a modified version of iOS that might be leaked) would also, eventually, allow those clever hackers to pry into any, say, iPhone. It was a big and important fight.
Apple’s Tim Cook has been vocal about the protection of our data, whether it’s encrypted messages, Apple Pay, our fingerprints, or our HomeKit infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s (failed) Fire Phone didn’t even bother with hardware encryption.
Now Jeff Bezos is very influential in certain ways. He urged the President not to reject the Paris climate accord. He has invested in and acquired the Washington Post. He’s investing heavily in commercial space exploration. But he’s not exactly known for championing privacy and trust in the style of Tim Cook. Just look at the design of the Amazon Echo and Look.
And yet neither company has been hacked. To my knowledge, each company with hundreds of millions of credit card numbers on file has never given up so much as a single number to hackers.
Perhaps Amazon’s better number is because people buy more often from Amazon, and the security of their purchase is more on their minds. Perhaps, because some fraction of Amazon customers don’t use Apple products, they wouldn’t make any affirmations about a company they don’t do business with.
Or maybe Apple does a poor job of touting the security of its products. The ad below, for example, falls very flat for me and has little emotional impact. Yes, that’s a hard thing to do in a 30 second TV ad. But the challenge should be considered. On the other hand, with just about every company and agency on the planet getting hacked, boasts about your own company’s security may be taken with a grain of salt. (Why must that be?) Or merely serve to elevate the hackers to new levels of inspiration.
Finally trust in “Your cell phone manufacturer” seems misplaced when it comes to Android-based smartphones. See: “New Android malware found every 10 seconds.”
No Deep Answers Yet
I don’t have a lot of answers here. I know that the network security of both companies has to be and is superb. Maybe it’s just that the difference in the chart above is statistically insignificant. And yet … consider Twitter’s number. That’s a telling, contrasting result.
I think Apple should have done better in a survey like that, and I want to eventually understand why it didn’t.
Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of June 19th. Top U.S. Supercomputers falling behind.