Apple exec dismisses Google CEO’s criticism over turning privacy into a ‘luxury good’

Apple software chief Craig Federighi says he does not "accept" criticism that Apple is turning privacy into a luxury good, an indirect accusation in the company by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

In an interview with The Independent Federighi rejected "the good luxury dig", just a couple of weeks after Pichai wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times saying that "privacy can not be a luxury good only offered to people who can buy premium products and services." Although Pichai did not name Apple, which recently announced the privacy benefits of his $ 999 phone, there is no doubt which company he refers to.

Apple wants to sell products to "everyone we can," Federighi said, adding that Apple products "certainly are not just a luxury." er the difference in business models between the two companies: Apple generally sells high-priced hardware directly to customers, so you do not need to collect much information about them; While Google offers a multitude of free services for users, they mainly benefit from the advertisements that are displayed in those services that are often targeted based on user data. Pichai argued that it is important to provide privacy protection services to which everyone has access.

Federighi said it is "gratifying" to see other companies that argue about privacy, but that it will take more than "a couple of months and a couple of months." press releases "to change the business practices of these companies, which are based on data collection. Federighi did not name Google specifically, but equally, it is quite clear to which company he is referring.

In the interview, Federighi also addressed two other criticisms of Apple's privacy stance: that it should not store data from Chinese users of iCloud in China, where the country could spy on it; and that his choice not to collect a lot of user data has delayed him in the development of artificial intelligence functions, such as Siri.

In China, Federighi suggests that storing data in the country is not such a big risk for Apple. as it would be for other companies, due to "all our data minimization techniques". Between the encryption of data and the collection of a small amount of data first, Federighi says there is not much to access on his Chinese iCloud servers, and that anyone who gets access could not do much with that information.

Federighi also says that he sees the option between collecting data and building powerful new AI functions as a "false compensation". Build these features without collecting additional data. "Sometimes that's extra work," he says. "But that's worth it."

Apple does so in several ways, according to the report. That includes buying a catalog of public photos that you can use to train algorithms, as well as analyzing publicly available voice data, such as podcasts, instead of using voice recordings from users. Apple also revealed in the past that it uses differential privacy techniques to anonymize user data and learn from the data as a whole.

It is unlikely that the privacy battle between these two companies will slow down. Because Apple's business model does not involve selling ads, privacy is a key area that Apple can use to make its products stand out, which encourages the company to continue to return to Google.

Google, for its part, understands that the cultural tide is opposing massive data collection, largely thanks to the constant scandals of Facebook, and has been making small changes to limit some of those concerns. This month, a new easy-to-read privacy policy was included for Nest devices, limits for ad tracking in Chrome and Incognito modes for more applications.

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