The Former NSA Chief Never Used A BlackBerry, Chose The iPhone Instead

Michael Hayden

The Financial Post reports that former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden says that during the three years that he headed the U.S. national security agency he never used a BlackBerry. He said:

“I have an iPhone… I like the features.”

For a long time BlackBerry’s core audience were businesses and governments, who turned to the smartphone because of its security and enterprise features. Over the past several years, the Waterloo-based company has been losing market share to iOS and Android devices.

The now-retired security chief still continues to work and comment on national security issues, often talking about Edward Snowden who leaked documents detailing the NSA’s surveillance system. 

But opting to use a smartphone exposes Mr. Hayden to another kind of surveillance: the culling of personal location data for marketing purposes. The signals emitted by Wi-fi and Bluetooth-enabled smartphones can be detected and tracked by sensors to develop profiles and better target customers.

Hayden explains that we have yet to find the perfect balance of security and privacy. He said:

“We have not yet had the adult conversation as to what we find acceptable for the convenience and the empowerment that it gives, at the expense of what level of privacy.”

The issue of privacy and security is being worked on by many companies. Hayden’s choice of smartphone says a lot about what Apple has done with the iPhone’s security and business features.

Apple is expected to preview iOS 8 and Mac OS X 10.10 at its opening keynote at WWDC tomorrow morning. The company will reportedly launch the next generation iPhone within the second half of the year alongside the rumoured iWatch.

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