In the wake of high-profile data breaches, widespread privacy concerns, and a wave of blatant disregard for your personal privacy by well-known companies (looking at you, Alphabet), Apple is taking a hardline stance against the collection and selling of personal information. While this is a breath of fresh air for those concerned with protecting their information, any celebration would be premature.
The fact is, Apple may not be in the business of collecting and selling your data but the third-parties they work with generally are. Apple’s business model is to sell you hardware at a premium price, not to give you free services and sell your data like Google, Facebook, and others. Now comes the Apple Card, a new credit card offering. Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs, a company that states it intends to make privacy and security a priority with this new credit card. Apple has been pushing the idea your information will be anonymized and therefore private.
“Simplicity, transparency and privacy are at the core of our consumer product development philosophy,” said David M. Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs.
If we look more closely at some of the company’s statements on this matter, they say they will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing or advertising, but that statement alone indicates there is information they could access in the first place. Your information is not as anonymized as they’d like you to think.
Goldman Sachs – the bank that is issuing the credit card – certainly will see your purchase information just like every other bank in the world. Are they to be trusted with that information? If we take them at their word, yes. But they can (and will) share it internally for their own marketing and advertising needs, just not with third parties. The question becomes, what is the difference? Your information is still going to be collected, sold, and shared at your expense. If you’re okay with that, that’s your choice, but this card ultimately becomes just like the rest.
Will your information be secure? Of course – until there’s a breach. This new card may be a case of being the lesser of two evils, but is by no means the bulletproof privacy and security payment option that Apple’s marketing team would have you to believe.
Apple is smart to cash in on the privacy and security craze that appears to be gaining momentum with frustrated consumers. Do I blame them? Not at all. But my recommendation is to stay far away from it if you value your privacy. The blood may not be on Apple’s hands but there are much better payment options in terms of privacy and security. Ultimately the allure of a sweet Titanium card and the convenience of having it tied to your iCloud account will be too much for people to resist, and that is a shame.
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