Apple and Privacy: It Just (Doesn't) Work

As if on cue, Apple played right into my hand.

The July dispatch issue was Topic: Privacy. And wouldn't you know, Apple went and committed a heinous gaff.

Mere days after the July issue was delivered to subscribers, Apple announced they are planning to scan all iPhones for images of child porn.

Think that's great?

I don't.

What about privacy?

Who gets to decide what's scanned and what's not?

Am I in favor of protection for pediphiles? Certainly not. It's a rotten sickness of the worst kind and these monsters are deserving of separation from society to keep children safe. Or worse.

But where anyone in the US is supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty", Apple wants to reach right in and scan for nefarious activity.

The police and FBI can't do this sort of search in our homes unless they have a warrant and reasonable cause.

To Apple, we're all criminals.

Scans looking for wrong-doing only works in movies.

Batman on a lonely rooftop, searching for villains... that's fine. We like to think that the Dark Knight is really out there somewhere, protecting us.

Apple, scanning phones, searching for monsters... that's not fine.

Vigilantes belong in movies.

Throughout history there have been those who have tried to predict behavior based on DNA.

"Behavioral genomics" is dangerous ground and a slippery slope.

Who gets to say which future crimes go under the microscope?

Murderers? No doubt. Uncover future murderers as pre-pubescents and shuffle them off to a place where they can be rehabilitated before they do any harm. What could go wrong with that?

Rapists? Absolutely. Scoop them all up and let them practice their terror on each other somewhere away from us all.

How about drug addicts and alcoholics? Surely there is a way to identify people who will be prone to addiction. Couldn't we round them up before their behavior hurts anyone?

See where this is going?

Who chooses which atrocities to select for, and which to predict and to regulate? And how on earth do we know if the system is working? Did a selection 21 years ago actually prevent a crime?

Who gets to decide?

You cool with Hitler being in charge and deciding who gets rounded up?

Witch hunts fail. Full stop.

Ironically, Apple is the same company that blocked the injunctions from the FBI to unlock phones for solving cases across a half-decade with multiple instances.

They're self-proclaimed as the champion of privacy.

So announce their billboards in San Francisco, currently.

Apple is the same company we're trusting collecting our health information.

Did you work out today?

What was your heart rate before you started?

What was your heart rate during your work out?

Are you in danger of developing heart disease?

Your iPhone and various apps and wearables can help support you.

So far so good?

How about reporting that data?

Would you want your employer to know you're developing a heart condition?

How about an insurance company?

If you're trying to keep your job, buy health or life insurance, you don't want a brewing diagnosis.

Where might Apple sell your health information?

This early warning information isn't anyone's business but your own. And you should be allowed to manage your health anyway you see fit.

Seems Apple is making their own rules.

I guess when you're the biggest company in the world you do what you want.

It's not a huge leap from scanning for child porn to reporting on other private data, letting my bank know that I'm planning a vacation that's a bit outside of my credit rating.

Hey, Siri. Get out of my phone.

And one more thing...

Marketers are kerfuffled over iOS 14. Blocking tracking... forcing app developers to make massive privacy adjustments to their products... mandating that apps' default to all users opted out of marketing (where the default, historically, was to opt-in).

But there's a twist.

Apple mobile devices manage their own marketing in a separate setting within devices. And guess what the default is for Apple advertising?

You guessed it... Default setting for Apple advertising is that we're opted in to Apple ads.

We have seen the enemy. And it has a bite taken out of it.

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