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Eric Schmidt takes exception to Tim Cook's comments on data collection and privacy

Google's Eric Schmidt has hit back at Tim Cook, following a comment last month that he took personal offense at the data collection practices of some rival companies.
October 3, 2014
eric schmidt

Apple and Google are two very different companies, and not just in terms of the products they put to market. Google’s business relies on the value of your personal information, while Apple takes its profits from premium price tags. Clearly then, the companies’ CEOs don’t see eye to eye, and have both recently given interviews regarding their opinions on consumer data.

Last month, Tim Cook made comments referring to some companies’ (we can infer Google’s) collection of personal data for profits, transparency over what they do with it, and how he felt personally offended by such practices. Apple’s lack of interest in your credit card details with Apple Pay was given a primary example of its minimal data collection efforts.

“I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried, and you should really understand what’s happening to that data” – Tim Cook

Needless to say, Google’s Eric Schmidt didn’t exactly agree with Cook’s assessment of the business of information, and took some time to respond to Cook’s indirect comments this week.

“Someone didn’t brief him (Cook) correctly on Google’s policies … we have always been the leader in security and encryption. Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They’re catching up, which is great.” – Eric Schmidt

The short of Schmidt’s response is that Google is quite open about the data it collects, is interested in using this information to produce better products, and has industry leading security features in place to protect the data that it does collect. We’ve already seen some benefits of feeding data collection back into services like Google Now. Schmidt was also keen to point out that there haven’t been any significant data breaches at Google, a clear jibe at the iCloud picture leaks which made the headlines last month.

You can find original clips of Cook’s and Schmidt’s comments in the videos below.

Which side, if any, do your views on consumer privacy fall on? Does Google do enough to protect your private data, and are you still willing to part with valuable information in exchange for Google’s software? Or is Apple’s business model of collecting minimal data, albeit with apparently less security, a safer approach when hackers and governments have their eyes on your personal details?