Your core values as a human being, prescribed by your smartphone
The discussion is never ending: Depending on who you ask, iOS does or doesn’t trump Android in the eternal war for smartphone supremacy because *insert snide remark here.* “iSheep” are more likely to be high-maintenance human beings, while “Fandroids” are more likely to not have college degrees (sorry, we didn’t make this stuff up.) The list, and the inevitable insults, go on.
But after sifting through all the OS noise over superiority, there is quite a lot to be said about your choice of mobile platform — things that go beyond the identifiers outlined in the aforementioned study. For instance, what impact does your smartphone’s operating system have on your core values as a human being and vice versa? Where do you stand on issues such as the recent FBI vs. Apple case? When Apple refuses to hack into a criminal’s iPhone, is it a matter of compromising national security or protecting our Constitution’s fourth amendment? The smartphone in your hand may play a significant role in how you decide.
The Anatomy of Android
The Android platform is a unique landscape of cultures, genders and beliefs, all brought together by the singular idea that their differences should also be celebrated. It’s this culture of community that drives the Android experience.
But the platform does have its holes. Between doomsday vulnerabilities and widespread hacking potential, even Android’s security team has been described as “embarrassed” by the lack of safety throughout the OS. Of course, many of these threats can be nullified by being a responsible user. For all other users who partake in rooting, downloading files from unknown sources and more, these are simply the pride and pitfalls of an open-source operating system.
An Android user’s take on Privacy
Android’s greatest triumph lies in its open-source ideology: an original source code that is made freely available and may be redistributed and/or modified. “Open-source” embodies the belief that any person can share his or her knowledge to alter the code’s overall behavior, preferably for the better. This is why so many different “skins” of Android from various smartphone manufacturers can exist without infringement.
Sharing information in an open-source ecosystem is the backbone of Android’s operating premise. The OS’ parent company, after all, is Google, the world renown search giant and ad-serving company. It’s no secret that Google mines information to serve more specific ads to users and to improve their own products and services. Most Android customers are aware that their information is being shared to elevate the communal experience of Android, and most users trust Google enough to use this information responsibly. As a result, criminals should be held accountable for their own choices; if said criminal’s personal data can be utilized for the protection of society as a whole, then the information should be turned over.
The Guarded Nature of iOS
In stark contrast, the iOS platform is built around the idea of privacy. CEO, Tim Cook, has gone on record numerous times, stating that Apple does not utilize its customers’ personal information to make money, instead employing hardware and software sales as the sole means of generating profit. To reflect this stance, Apple has recently decided to sunset its iAd platform, it’s last remaining questionable service that rivaled privacy policies.
And now, in light of the FBI’s request for Apple to hack into an iPhone 5C to procure a murderer’s personal information, Cook’s take on customer privacy and security is being put to the test. So far, Cook has remained steadfast, even in the face of a major government outfit.
An iPhone user’s take on Privacy
As smartphone users, we place a lot of trust in our platforms of choice. We store photos, send texts, and in the case of Elevate’s team, we even trust cloud services to store sizeable compendiums of editorial content.
The keyword in all of this is trust. iPhone users have learned to confide their information in Apple’s ecosystem. Part of this trust has been generated by the words outlined in Apple’s privacy policies and customer letters above. Other bits of this trust come from iOS’ reputation for security against malware and other malicious threats. As a result, Apple has molded a culture of safety around their entire product lineup.
Through Apple’s various policies and actions, iPhone users have learned to believe that Apple will keep their personal information safe, regardless if the threat originates from a single hacker or an entire government agency. Even as the FBI pushes against Apple to hack one of its own devices, iPhone users want to know that their fourth amendment rights in opposition of illegal search and seizure are being protected. Without these rights, there would be no United States for the FBI to defend by obtaining the shooter’s information in the first place.
Where do you stand?
So we turn the conversation over to you. What is your perspective on the FBI vs. Apple situation? Regardless of your mobile platform of choice, this issue does have the potential to directly affect you — your rights, your privacy, your security, your personal information. All of it.