America has had a monopoly of the cloud with regards mobile computing and consequently of having access to user data. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and others all did it. They sniffed though your stuff, uploaded and saved some of them, and basically created this whole new world in which nothing is hidden once you connect your smartphone.
During the European era, personal data and privacy were sacrosanct. Europeans are not half as cow boyish as the Americans, you see. They cherish privacy. As such during the period that Europe led mobile innovation, think Nokia, Siemens and co, the idea of sending people’s data to a remote server would be met with stuff opposition. Even till today, the loudest clamour for online privacy is still from Europe
The Chinese, however, are a different kettle of fish. Bent on copying and outshining the US in the game, they are building alternative brands to what America offers – and now they too want our data. Actually, they are already getting it. Think Baidu. Think Xiaomi. You can be sure that there are others too, and time will reveal them.
Right now, who gets your data boils down to your choice of brands. Think of the Matrix. It is a choice between the blue pill and the red pill. In some cases, it is a mixture.
What bothers me is why Europe isn’t building alternatives? If they did, we would also have a white or transparent pill as an option. Very likely, it would be a saner option considering the more conservative outlook of Europe to privacy issues.