Privacy-preaching Apple gets low marks in trust survey

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Apple Trust in Tech survey
No winners here.
Chart: Tresorit

Even though CEO Tim Cook repeatedly says privacy and personal data are important to Apple, a huge majority of surveyed consumers still don’t trust the iPhone maker to lawfully protect their information.

All seven of the tech giants mentioned in a YouGov survey received jarringly negative results from an undisclosed number of respondents from the U.S. and United Kingdom.

The survey, sponsored by Tresorit, which offers encrypted file sharing, shows Amazon as most trusted, but with just 28 percent.

Microsoft was second with 24 percent, Apple was third with 22 percent, Facebook and Google each had 13 percent, while Dropbox and Instagram were at the bottom with single digits.

The headlines coming out of Silicon Valley have been far from reassuring with high-profile data breaches involving companies like Facebook and Google.

Apple on privacy

Apple has managed to avoid huge privacy blunders.

Apple goes to great lengths to boost its self-proclaimed data privacy bona fides. Cook has made repeated promises that Apple will protect personal data and has even publicly advocated for government regulation of how tech companies handle data.

There was no stronger a public stand than in 2016, when Apple resisted pressure from the Justice Department to unlock the iPhone 5c of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Cook defied a federal court order to create a backdoor into iOS. The fed backed down after paid Cellebrite $900,000 to hack the phone.

Apple today said it pulled a number of third-party parental control apps from its App Store because they featured technology that granted developers “sensitive information” violating Apple’s policies on privacy and security.

But if the survey is an accurate reflection, even Apple needs to do more to battle perception and win the trust of consumers.

“Privacy laws are changing to protect personal information but new legislation and policies are difficult to enforce and take time to effect real change,” Tresorit said on its blog. “At the end of the day, Big Tech’s business model still capitalizes on monetizing user data and insights at the cost of privacy, but as consumer awareness grows, they may be forced to pivot and rethink certain strategies.”