President Obama threw some shade Apple’s way yesterday, failing to mention it as one of the tech companies putting user privacy and security first, while describing his new Cybersecurity National Action Plan.
Obama talked about businesses which “empower Americans” by keeping them safe with extra layers of security like fingerprints scanners — only to then namecheck “companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft… and Visa.”
No mention of the company which actually popularized Touch ID then? No, just checking!
“More and more, keeping America safe is not just a matter of more tanks [and] more aircraft carriers,” Obama said. “[It’s] not just a matter of bolstering our security on the ground. It also requires us to bolster our security online. As we’ve seen in the past few years and just in the past few days, cyber threats pose a danger not only to our national security but also our financial security and the privacy of millions of Americans.”
Of course, no case currently demonstrates this last point more than Apple’s current standoff with the FBI, concerning whether or not it should help the government unlock iPhones by creating an iOS backdoor. However, Obama made no mention of this in his speech.
Apple has also been vocal in appealing to the White House to protect individual privacy rights through strong encryption.
While I’m perfectly willing to accept this may all be an oversight on Obama’s part, you have to admit it’s pretty ironic that — as an alleged Apple fan — Obama wasn’t allowed to use an iPhone during his time in office because of its apparently-lax security features. Then, since Apple did revolutionize its encryption around the time of iOS 8, Obama’s subtly snubbed the company several times — whether it’s being filmed wearing a Fitbit instead of an Apple Watch or debuting his vacation playlists on Spotify instead of Apple Music.
Way to make the world’s most valuable device maker look like an underdog for the first time in years!