An anonymous survey of people working in the technology industry has crowned Apple as the privacy champion of FANG, while 78% believe it is a top priority at their own organization.
The survey was run by Blind, an anonymous social network for the workplace, which has a userbase in the hundreds of thousands, many of whom work at the world’s largest technology companies. Asking whether they believed their own organization prioritised user privacy, the results might shock a few.
Employees of technology companies were given a simple statement and offered the opportunity to add an explanation. The statement was “My company believes customer data protection is a top priority”.
Sitting at the top of the table was Apple with 73.6% and 19.8% answering the statement they strongly agreed or agreed respectively. LinkedIn and Salesforce also featured highly on the list, while Google and Amazon were also above the industry average. Facebook was below the industry average while Adobe, Intuit and SAP fell way below the average with only 44.6%, 40% and 39% respectively stating they strongly agree with the statement.
Such low numbers should be a major concern, especially with lawmakers and regulators attempting to reconfigure rules to take a stronger tone with data privacy. Irrelevant whether the likes of Apple is taking privacy seriously, rules will be written for the industry as a whole; the laggards will ensure everyone has to face the sharp stick of the law.
On the FANG front, Blind users were asked whether Apple should be considered the privacy champion. 67.9% agreed with the statement, with some suggesting the business model is not based on the transfer of personal information therefore it is more secure or less of a threat. That said, Apple is fast evolving with the software and services business becoming more of a focus. It might well evolve to include some of these practises in the future.
That said, while Apple is seemingly keeping its hands clean, one person feels the company is nothing more than an enabler for the more nefarious.
“I feel Apple is no better for creating the technology that enables companies like Facebook to become no more than spying tools,” said one Intuit employee.
Although scores in the 70s could be viewed as positive, this means 20-30% of an organization’s own employees do not believe the privacy rhetoric which is being reeled off in the press by executives of the tech giants. If a company is unable to create an internal belief in privacy, it might be viewed as a worrying sign.