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Apple’s Security Innovations Should Give Overzealous Politicians Pause
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Apple’s Security Innovations Should Give Overzealous Politicians Pause

by David McGarry

Apple last week revealed a new set of features designed to fortify users’ security and privacy. Apple says its innovations will crack down on link tracking, further secure communications, enhance child safety, and more.

Apple’s new innovations demonstrate the tech industry’s capacity to evolve in response to security and privacy demands. Market-driven demands elicit market-driven solutions – if the government permits it. These innovations further demonstrate the benefits – which consumers have long recognized – of relatively closed software ecosystems. Suites of applications from trusted developers mesh to best serve the user. An iPhone’s applications may not fully interoperate with non-iOS apps or operating systems. However, the intra-ecosystem coordination of variously functioning iOS apps, and safety features, have helped established Apple as the leading brand in mobile-device privacy. Programmers can maximize such benefits exclusively in relatively closed ecosystems.

Meanwhile, politicians in Washington hope to undermine market-generated privacy and security measures. A coalition of senators appear ready to reintroduce the American Innovation and Choice Online (AICO) Act. The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress before it stalled on the floor. Advanced in the name of competitive fairness, it would require tech platforms to adopt inherently non-secure security and privacy protocols. For example, it would mandate interoperability, which would homogenize and degrade the operational capacity of the app economy.

While AICO wouldn’t ban every privacy benefit Apple’s closed system offers, the bill’s advocates routinely ignore the benefits of non-interoperability, market-innovated security solutions, and closed ecosystems. Instead, they proceed as if their proposals would not impose any potentially harmful tradeoffs at all.

Published on June 14, 2023