iPhone

Poll: Apple or Google -- which do you trust more with your data?

Apple recently joined Google in taking liberties with user data. There are reasons to both trust and distrust both of them. So which do you trust more? Take the poll.

It recently came to light that Apple has been tracking GPS data on iPhone users. This may have been inadvertent or it may have been part of an effort to collect data in preparing for future apps and services. You can read Apple's official response and decide for yourself. Whatever the case may be, Apple is now in the same boat as Google as a company that has a lot of information about you and has the potential to use it in ways that you might not have imagined and might not like.

That naturally begs the question of which one you trust more with your personal data? There's a line of thinking that since Apple is more of a closed ecosystem it is a safer place to have your stuff -- compared to the Google ecosystem that always wants to scrape as much data as it can about you in order to provide you with a more customized experience (but one that sometimes plays fast and loose with user data).

However, there is a valid counter-argument. As my colleague Larry Dignan over at ZDNet says, he would much rather trust Google with his data because he knows that the company is under the privacy microscope from federal regulators and so it has to be more careful and transparent about the things it does.

What do you think? Answer the question below. There's no third option ("neither" or "both equally") for you wishy-washy people. Commit. Choose one, or don't answer the poll. Oh, and then please jump into the discussion and respectfully share your reasons why.

Also read

Take the poll

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

68 comments
OCXS
OCXS

These two companies are competing with each other on Global playing field. Especially in the Mobile Services Sector. Information is the key, although we are all having to cope with the Info glut, we the users are the Market and also the generators of the information both these companies need the develop their products and services for their survival. The problem is Information Privacy is a touchy subject with all of us. It's ours and we should be informed openly and honestly by them and have the choice if are comfortable with these companies collecting it for there use. I suspect that like myself most people would object to it's collection.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I woul.d say neither but there wasn't an option. Google is barely the less of two evils.

thys
thys

Well i am afraid the Apple might turn my information into music, that can only be played by itunes!!!!!!

murray.scott07
murray.scott07

Google... Why?? Google is in the business of collecting and analysing data, and they would be pretty useless without it. They are also much more transparent, I know that google collects my location from my droid, however I never knew that my iPhone (for work) was doing it. Because its what Google do, they are under much more scrutiny and review, and I trust them for it.

m_umair_amin
m_umair_amin

I use services provided by google and I don't have to pay anything for it so I don't mind if they have got data about me or if they are using it to make money.I feel like it's mutual benefit I use their service they use my data..

stephen.holland
stephen.holland

Let's get this right, we trust google more than Apple, because: > Google drove the streets of the free world, taking "Street View" pictures of them, while collecting information being transmitted over our personal WiFi networks (including where in the world according to GPS they were), and then denied doing it. That was until the police forces of Europe, UK, Australia et al nailed them for it. > in the interests of collecting statistics on our Websites we embed Google Analytics codes in them, so google can tell us where our visitors come from. > then they track my search sessions to match them with the sites i visit to deliver ads to me for products they think I should buy. Like TechRepublic facilitate by adding this script to their page(s): script type="text/javascript"> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-4559464-1']); _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', '.techrepublic.com']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); _gaq.push(['b._setAccount', 'UA-10100402-4']); _gaq.push(['b._setDomainName', '.techrepublic.com']); _gaq.push(['b._trackPageview']); Hmmm, then Apple retain information in a phone I own, that is mine, that if I lose the handset someone could access to find out more about me, or Apple may pickup when I give them permission to use it. Yes, I can see why you all trust Google, perhaps some of you should read the classics by George Orwell, a reformed Socialist, 1984 and Animal Farm. Personally, I trust Apple with my information more than Google, because they have more to lose by misusing, Google just don't care. Enjoy the koolade boys and girls....

AZ_IT
AZ_IT

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/privacy. Privacy as I understand it can only be expected while within the walls of your own home. You could argue that privacy should also be expected while in or on any property that you own (ie. car and yard) if you take the necessary steps to ensure that privacy (ie. tinted windows for your car and a fence for your yard). However if those measures to mitigate exposure have not been taken we can't expect it to be illegal for our neighbors to glance over the property lines. As soon as I step over the threshold of my home I'm out there for anyone to see. The same can be said for our digital lives. While we are dealing in the confines of our own hardware we should have an expectation of privacy but once we open the door to the internet and cross that threshold our expectations of privacy go out the window. We have stepped over the property line and anyone who is out there can see us and see what we do if they bother to look in our general direction. If you truly want privacy go buy some land, build a windowless building that is heat-shielded, sound-proofed, and without internet access and then maybe you'll have the privacy that you're craving. For those of us who can't handle such an existence we will go about living our lives and just hope that everyone else is so busy doing the same that they don't have time to track our every movement whether online or in real life.

mike five
mike five

For those that don't remember or have not read up on J. Edgar Hoover, I suggest that they do so. He was probably the most nefarious data collector this side of the NSA. Anyone who completely trusts anything or anyone that's on the internet should catch the next tornado to Oz. A hack, phish, bribe, etc. and your information is whomever;s. Apple's accidental/unintended/etc. inclusion of tracking capability in their phones insures that I will NEVER own another Apple product. And no I'm not paranoid. I don't have a life that would even remotely induce paranoia.

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

Is what TR JOURNALISTS ( an EPITHET, BTW ) do these days.... For many ( including myself ) it's NEITHER. I use CHROMIUM, not Google Chrome. I have NEVER owned any of the Apple devices; I learned about the privacy issue when I worked on Daytona... The M$ rep was all excited about the ability that was BUILT IN the original SMS... a M$ ABILITY TO REMOTELY CONTROL ANY MACHINE in the NT SERVER setup...BY REDMOND!! NO,you were NOT given a choice...BTW, we panned that " feature "... I don't do mobile devices and won't wear an " electronic leash ". I've commented on other TR blogs and BNET why I don't. Wait until the government puts a little C-4 inside of your mobile device. Step out of line...Brains all over the ceiling....

xeno.zentag
xeno.zentag

First, lets get the basics of the question right. This is not a competition between the iPhone and Google Search, it's information sourcing and protection of that information (as far as it goes). We are comparing how Google and Apple protect their information. Firstly, I categorized information into four levels of descending importance: 1. Financial Information (Credit Card, Bank #, etc.) 2. Personal Information (Name, Demographics, etc.) 3. Locational Information (Address, Street, Post, etc.) 4. Habitual Information (Search Terms, Page visits, etc) Google collects #2 through #4 regularly, and rarely #1. Apple collects #1 through #3 and rarely #4. By adding the priorities of the regularly collected data (the lowest score is at the highest risk), Apple is at the highest risk for exposure (6) compared to Google (9). My justification is this: Google is rarely paid by its consumers. The only product I know of that is common to Google is Google Checkout, which pales in usage compared to any apple product. If anybody wants financial data, Apple is the better source. That being said, Apple is very closed about sharing any kinds of information. The question is: what do they use it for? Seeing recent news (Apple patents technology to 'spy' on it's users [see note 1], iPhone file tracks your location [see note 2]) you begin to wonder what Apple is planning to do with all the data it's recording. Google is an information company. A lot of it's revenues come from selling it's audience for marketing. It is also an information gathering machine. Google uses statistics to build search-related technologies and software that is oriented to how users get and use data. It makes sense for a company that is audience-based to gather habitual information about it's audience; It will not survive otherwise. In short: Apple has no business knowing where it's users are (or what their heartbeat is, see note 1) but it gathers that information anyways. Google may not be that invasive with it's technology, but it definitely gets more information about you than anybody else, whether you provide it or not. I trust Google more as an information company than Apple who uses more subversive and invasive means to obtain information. Sources: 1 - http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2010/08/apple-wants-to-spy-on-you-all-hitechlike.html 2 - http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/04/how-apple-tracks-your-location-without-your-consent-and-why-it-matters.ars

sabotooth
sabotooth

At least they make it very clear to you that they are collecting your information. As long as they abide by the "Don't be evil" I will trust them far more than Apple. I just don't trust the control freaks at Apple. It's the same with Facebook, as long as the collectors have an attitude of "my way or no way" I just don't get a warm fuzzy and automatically feel more distrust toward them. (although at least Facebook is honest enough to say that they don't believe in privacy as an individual right to begin with)

David Stratton
David Stratton

I actually trust (gasp) Microsoft more than I do either of those companies. I realize that this is heresy, but hear me out: I didn't say I fully trust Microsoft. I was, "I trust them more". The reason is twofold. First, they are under such scrutiny that I think they're afraid to do anything to further tarnish their reputation on security and privacy. Second, the amount of effort and money that they put into providing tools, training, and resources to help developers, sysadmins, project managers, etc shows that they are serious about security and privacy, even if they don't get it right all the time. http://www.microsoft.com/security/sdl/ Google and Apple have demonstrated very clearly that they could care less about our privacy. Do I trust them completely? No. I don't trust anyone completely, except for God and my wife. Do I trust them more than I do Google and Apple? Heck yes!

jfuller05
jfuller05

I chose Google based on the fact that I use Google and I cannot comment on Apple because I don't use Apple's products.

johncymru
johncymru

As there isn't the option for neither I would go for Google over Apple by 50.0#1 to 49.9#9. #=infnity.

garyleroy
garyleroy

It's not even a question. Apple has transformed me from a propeller-beanied dork into a tech-savvy, laid-back cool dude, and would only use my data for things that would help me to be even cooler. Steve Jobs is a heckuva nice guy that always puts the interests of others first, and really is just providing all this nice stuff to us because he likes us and wants to help us out. It only costs more because of the quality, Apple hardly makes any profit from all these important gadgets that are essential to our lives. They only try to lock us in to their approved resources because they're looking out for our best interests, there are mean foolish people out there who aren't looking out for us like Apple is. I love all my Macs, and am proud to have that huge glowing logo that tells everybody that I am with the coolest, smartest crowd anywhere, and we are that way because we buy this stuff that we really need. I could go on, but I need to check the weather on my iphone and see if it compares to what my ipad says, verified by my imac and with accompanying music purchased from itunes and played on my AppleTV in the format that gives them the most control over it, so they can keep me from thinking harmful non-apple thoughts. Google? Hah, they're just a mercenary company out to make a profit, and they won't even make me cool in the process.

wizardb
wizardb

Where's the option??

john
john

NEITHER !!!!!!!

pjboyles
pjboyles

By not including all the valid choices to the question in your poll you are creating an artifical, deceptive result. It is "wishy-washy" to NOT include a full set of the valid responses. Leaving a real response out creates an artificial result and is extremely poor practice. You need all FOUR possible responses to be honest and open. You are being just as deceptive as Apple and Google and trying to create conterversy with both your action of leaving out valid response choices and how you address people as wishy-washy. Quit insulting our intellegence and "man up" to give us something with real information and real results. The answer is neither.

somethinggood4
somethinggood4

For the simple reason that their Vision Statement (or Mission, or motto, or whatever you want to call it) is "Don't Be Evil". I'm not concerned about privacy, and I frankly think that those who are concerned are VASTLY overestimating how interesting their lives are to other people. But I believe in the power of information (particularly information that is gathered when we are behaving normally, i.e. when no one's watching) to tell us about how the world REALLY works, and how we can understand our behaviour. When we truly understand where we are, we can then plot a course to where we want to go.

ltcwells2
ltcwells2

Everyone has been watching Google for YEARS and they don't have a product line to keep them moving ahead after a slip/ breach of private information. You gotta trust someone these days...

CultOfTech
CultOfTech

How about we add Sony to the mix and THEN ask this Q...?

TheShawnThomas
TheShawnThomas

I'm not trusting anyone with my data but necessary evils of today I would trust Google more. Apple has a history of doing whatever the heck it feels like - end-user be damned!

john.ammon
john.ammon

This is not the first time for either to prove too users that they are not very trustworthy!!!!

JayGee21
JayGee21

Why didn't you offer a third choice in your survey Apple, Google, NONE - my choice NONE

lastchip
lastchip

Sadly, your poll didn't offer the obvious choice. I don't trust either of them; but I also wouldn't trust any "cloud" operation with any of my data.

cd003284
cd003284

No crit of Jason, but this is another false dichotomoy designed - consciously or unconsciously - to stimulate discussion and/or debate. The question assumes trust, in some measure, in one or the other, and that's where the question fails. I'm with CptMatt, jsaubert, Palmetto, jdev1, Zwort, Stovies, and d2colm.

jsaubert
jsaubert

How about and option for "Wouldn't trust ANY company" with my data? I've abstained from voting in this case. It's not even so much of a not directly trusting the company (even though I don't) but any database of user info no matter how mundane of is a target for malicious intent. Data is the new currency of the world and a pile of it will attract hackers and internal misuse alike. I often don't mind the actually collection of data as long at it's useful to improving my experience but the prolonged KEEPING of data I do.

CptMatt
CptMatt

I don't trust the cloud, period. Too many breaches across too many different levels of security at too many companies. For now, the only thing I trust is my local hard drive and the backup I run every week. And wallet I keep my charge cards in.

DadsPad
DadsPad

puts it where anyone can see it? The telcos have had this data for years, but were mostly available to law enforcement. Since we pay for the phones and service, we should have rights to limit the data being publicized. Also, did not TechRepublic have articles on apps tuning on your microphone without you knowledge? Why is not listening on private conversations illegal?

Ole88
Ole88

Because they are under the microscope and it is an open system, they have to be more diligent with the data they have. With Apple having a closed system, you never know what they are doing with your data - they're a black box in that respect.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Between the two I trust Google more with my data. Everyone makes mistakes, often it is a matter of failing to fully consider all aspects of an action. But between the two I know that Google is and has long been in the business of information gathering and that it is in their own best interest to keep that information private. Unfortunately it is already too late for most of us, the amount of information out there that is freely available about us without our knowledge is truly terrifying if you think about it. Of course I should also point out that I don't own or use any Apple products. Their products are too closed for my tastes.

Amalgam
Amalgam

Trust neither.Personal information is a cash cow, that's how the world turns now. Amazing how many people, throughout the world, give away their entire lives on social networking sites........and then whine when their "privacy" is invaded! Apple, Google? Everyone's at it!

Stovies
Stovies

I do not trust anything American. Edgar J Hoover head of FBI; probably one of the most evil men ever born; so how could the FBI be anything but bent like the sevret service etc. These set the tone of American sneakiness. No, America is not my chosen destination. Unfortunately most of the electronics comes from there; although the components are manufactured in China, so we have to deal with them. I tolerate Google because I do not put personal details on it that I would not broadcast to the world at large anyway.

Zwort
Zwort

I trust neither, equally. So there is a hole in the questionnaire.

jdev1
jdev1

I am the owner of my data and it is my wish for my data to remain private. My data is not for public or other users consumption

zKon
zKon

i.e. No One

TheShawnThomas
TheShawnThomas

(the snake only gave Eve the push that she needed, but it was the Apple that tempted her to eat it!)

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

There is a huge gap between the law and enforcement. Who enforces laws against the police? Who polices the enforcers? If someone was remotely listening to your phone could you prove who? Could you get a lawyer to take the case? I don't know. We certainly need a force that is on our side and then you would need another force to watch them. Perhaps a security triangle? (Police < Copwatch < Internal affairs) is the model as it exists today. Copwatch has little power and Internal affairs is corrupt. These problems are solveable. People just need to really look at the system.

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

You say that you trust Google more, but Apple products are more closed for your tastes. Closed products are a bit safer to use. I have an iPod from Apple, but I don't use their Apple Store for songs. So it really is just an MP3 player with songs I load from CDs. Apple does not know who is listening to Cat Stevens, but they do know who I am. They know where I work and what is on my computer, I suppose, but it is a work computer. Nothing personal besides Cat Stevens to see.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Nope, England never had any self-indulgent kings or crooked ministers. We've got the market cornered on corruption on this side of the pond. Let's just forget the near-slavery of the East India Company; no reason to compare their policies to modern electronics manufacturers.

K_Green
K_Green

Stovies May I suggest that's an unfair generalization / characterization? Before doing so, you might want to look at the person/nation you're stigmatizing through their eyes, back at your own. Not all Americans are sneaky anymore than all people from the UK (your nation) are stiff and pompous. I've personally met many from the UK who are a joy, most recently on a trip to Disney World. I invite you to come to my country sometime, despite your inclinations, and let us try to improve your opinion.

shryko
shryko

If you connect to a cell network, you're tracked, and the data is stored. If you search the internet, you leave crumbs all over the web. ...you might "own" your data, but most places you go will have a waiver saying you allow them to keep some and to use it. Complete privacy is an illusion. Relative privacy is all you can have in a functional society.

cd003284
cd003284

Of course it is, and he (Hi, Jason) does it very well. But that still begs the questions of how best to do it, and whether or not to phrase a question in such a way as to make assumptions or presumptions about the answers. There are lots of ways to stimulate discussion and debate, and when a question doesn't allow for a widespread and easily anticipated opinion - in this case, the missing option of "neither" - it often invites critcism of the question itself, as it has here.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Closed products are less safe to use as has been argued in many open source/closed source and security through obscurity/visibility articles and threads on this very site. The difference between the two though is not in the openness of their products but in their business models. Apple is in the hardware business and needs no more than basic demographic and use information from me in order to design products that will appeal to me or others like me. Google is in the information and advertising business. I know they want to know as much about me as possible in order to be able to market a wide variety of products and services to me. As a side effect of that it is in their best interests to keep everything they know about me to themselves in order to give themselves an edge against other information and advertising companies and to keep my trust so that I will continue to be a willing participant in their business.

SKDTech
SKDTech

If your existence has ever been recorded anywhere then it is available somewhere whether you use the internet and a smartphone/cellphone orlive in the middle of nowhere completely off the grid. There is far more publicly available information about everyone out there than most people would be comfortable with if they knew the full extent of it.

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