Not All PR is Good PR

By: Caitlin DePaolis, Communications and Digital Strategy Committee Member

Apple’s iCloud service has been in hot water lately. The recent automatic and unwanted upload of U2’s album “Songs of Innocence” to Apple devices and the iCloud hack of personal celebrity items have caused controversy. Although the technology conglomerate promised to increase security on their system that automatically downloads and backs up nearly everything on a user’s device, many still question whether or not to continue opting in to the ‘Cloud.’

Besides adding a new, two-step verification process to protect users’ Apple ID account information, CEO Tim Cook published an announcement on the company website to try and change the reputation that they now have in regards to privacy.

tim cookCook stated that the company seeks to see consumers not as products, but as customers. Cook also explained that with the new iOS 8 update, content that is backed up on the iPhone is now encrypted. This will make it impossible for the company to release information, even if it is requested by a government warrant.

According to USA Today, Cook went so far as to tell PBS News that he was “offended” that tech companies collect so much personal information about their consumers.

Although the release of these statements and televised interviews are a great way for Cook to attempt to regain customer trust and loyalty, the continuous release of personal celebrity items is a hindrance to his credibility. In mid-September, more personal items were reported as hacked into and published on the Internet. Actress Emma Watson was threatened on popular forum site Reddit.

No matter how many interviews Tim Cook gives or how much he purports that measures are being taken to beef up security, the fact of the matter is that there are no results for him to fall back on.

In fact, a user posted on Wired.com that his iCloud account was recently hacked. All the information on his Apple devices was wiped clean and the hacker caused damage to his Gmail account. As someone who is also just a normal consumer, it is troubling to see that an ordinary citizen can be a target and that it is so easy to access personal information.

It has been said that all publicity is good publicity. However, because of Apple’s reliance on a user’s trust to function, a security breach is a huge downfall. A better way for Cook’s team to have handled the situation would have been to be upfront with customers about the severity of the breach as Target had been about their credit card data security hack of last year.

For a company that thrives heavily on the trust and loyalty of its consumers, honesty should be a top priority. Hopefully Apple’s technical team will be able to prevent the hackers from accessing additional personal information.

Image credit: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

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