Your Smartphone Is A Civil Rights Issue

While the new technology improves the quality of life, it presents serious security challenges. In a TED Talk video, privacy security expert Christopher Soghoian explains how Apple and Android have contributed to the growing digital security divide. Although users choose smartphone types for personal taste, the powerful and wealthy individuals prefer Apple for security reasons, whereas the poor have no option but to buy Android, which is prone to the privacy breach.

The two most popular operating systems in the market are Android and iOS. Android operating system is made by Google, while iOS is created by Apple (Soghoian, 2016). The two operating systems are distinctively different. Regarding system permission, iOS is a closed system and hardly allows users to customize it. On the other hand, Android is an open system, and users have permission to customize their phones.

Apple has invested heavily in ensuring its products are as secure as possible. Information such as text messages and emails sent from one Apple smartphone to another are encrypted by default (Soghoian, 2016). That means even if an iOS smartphone lands in the wrong hands or is confiscated by police, it would be difficult for them to access the data in the device. On the contrary, most Android smartphones do not encrypt the data by default, making it easy for a third party to access it. Therefore, the two smartphones differ significantly based on data protection features.

The digital security divide refers to the gap between smartphone users, where the wealthy use devices that encrypt their calls and messages while the poor use phones that are vulnerable to surveillance. Apple smartphones have better security features, but the prices are so high for low-income earners to afford them. The digital security divide has both negative and positive implications. Senior management benefit from using secure Apple smartphones with hard to bypass features. However, the freedom of junior staff is at stake since most of them use Android phones prone to surveillance.

Overall, Apple and Google own the popular operating systems. However, Apple and Android smartphones have contributed to the digital security divide due to their affordability and security features. Rich people use Apple smartphones, which are more secure, whereas the poor use Android that is prone to privacy breaches. Apple smartphones encrypt calls, emails, and messages by default. On the contrary, Android does not have such security features.


Soghoian, C. (2016, Nov. 23). Your smartphone is a civil rights issue [Video]. TED.