Smartphones and LibertySubmitted by Marc Clair on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 13:11
The satirical news outlet National Report recently ran a story on computer behemoth Apple sharing user fingerprint data with the dastardly National Security Agency. It seems one of the hot, new features of the latest iPhone is the ability to recognize imprints. The non-scandal was picked up on a number of websites, only to be debunked by Charles Arthur in The Guardian. Admittedly, this writer was fooled by the hoax. With the publication of origin running stories on elders rioting over meds and the efficacy of violently exterminating illegal aliens, I should have been more vigilant.
The thing is, as blood-boiling as the story was, it was also believable. Thanks to the intrepid work of journalist Glenn Greenwald and heroic individualism of Edward Snowden, the public is now aware of Apple’s cozy relationship with Washington. According to a report in The Guardian, the NSA’s Prism program has direct access to the servers of major internet companies – including everyone’s favorite fruit-inspired computer provider. Government bureaucrats currently have an unhampered means of gathering data on individual users.
Despite claiming to have never heard of the program, Apple joined the surveillance panopticon in 2012. Whether by choice or by force is still a question; but it’s hard to argue with an armed gang. If I had to hedge my bets, I would go with the Jobs’ giant making a Faustian bargain in return for profits. As socially optimal as earnings are, throwing customers to the mob doesn’t sit easy. I don’t endorse the practice, but I certainly understand it.