“The global health care industry is expected to reach $10 trillion by 2022. That’s bigger than the economy of any country other than the United States and China. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are among the companies vying for a piece of that pie in areas such as retail pharmacies, using artificial intelligence for disease detection and healthy-living apps,” Laura Sydell reports for NPR. “And so is Apple.”

“The company has been innovating and expanding its presence in health care. It’s an area where the company’s long-held privacy values may give it an edge over the competition — if it can hold up to the growing public scrutiny,” Sydell reports. “Putting health records into an app created by a big tech company requires trust. Those records could list medications taken, treatments for diseases and visits to mental health care providers. That’s not the kind of information most people want an employer, advertiser or insurance company to see.”

“Apple CEO Tim Cook has been a vocal advocate for privacy rights. Most recently, he has spoken out against rival companies Google and Facebook for making money off user data to sell ads,” Sydell reports. “In an interview with NPR, Cook says acquiring user data to sell ads is something his company has avoided. ‘People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple,’ he says. ‘That’s a key part of anyone that you’re working with on your health.’ Cook says Apple’s commitment to privacy isn’t simply a marketing ploy. “It’s not the way we look at it in terms of advantages,’ he says. ‘The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cook is playing the long game here, betting that someday the great unwashed will wake up and begin to value the privacy that only Apple can provide. Of course, today, they’re all giving their personal data away to Google and Facebook while mailing off their DNA samples (and paying for the privilege, no less) to only God knows who, so that’s quite the bet.

On big problem is highlighted in this NPR report:

But Apple has far from a perfect track record when it comes to privacy. At a time of heightened scrutiny of all tech companies and their privacy records, the Wall Street Journal has found that several top health and fitness apps available for iPhones send personal information, such as data about heart rates and menstrual cycles, to Facebook.

Of course, we all know that one has nothing to do with the other, but they both “happen on iPhone” so the average Joe and Jane are naturally going to conflate the two. That’s going to hurt Apple’s privacy reputation. Apple doesn’t have full control here. They have given third-parties access via the App Store and any bad actor can hurt Apple’s privacy reputation (and they will), warranted or not.

In fact, it’s not even that farfetched to imagine an Apple competitor (especially those gunning for control of users’ health data) signing up to develop iOS apps and trying to get apps approved into the App Store that are designed to hurt Apple’s privacy reputation. The App Store is an attack vector. Apple’s App Store vetting process needs work and Cook would be smart to double down on the review process, to make sure apps do what they say and nothing else.

Well, hopefully Cook’s bet pays off big someday!

SEE ALSO:
Apple is betting big on the $7 trillion healthcare space, with its own devices the key – February 21, 2019
Apple is so serious about health, Apple Stores have started hosting heart-health events – February 12, 2019
Apple’s health records work with the VA is a big deal, and not just for veterans – February 11, 2019
Apple announces Health Records feature coming to American veterans – February 11, 2019
Apple job openings for health-related positions up 400% since 2017 – January 17, 2019
Apple’s digital health plan puts the iPhone and Apple Watch at the heart of your wellbeing – January 16, 2019
Apple’s next really big thing: Health – January 9, 2019
Study shows active Apple Watch users gain extra years of life – November 28, 2018
Apple’s profound iPhone plans for healthcare – June 15, 2017
Apple acquires Gliimpse – August 22, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]