SocraticGadfly: The smugness of Apple's iCult

December 05, 2019

The smugness of Apple's iCult

I've run into it on Facebook, with a friend or friends, when told that iPhones spy on you just like Androids, shrug it off. (Can't tell you more, as I don't post to public.)

And, they do. Maybe not as much as Androids, but they do.

And yet there’s no question that, by putting computers in our pockets, Apple ushered in the surveillance age. Researchers have found that iPhones send a steady stream of personal data to third parties, much as Android phones do. The company is also a pioneer in Bluetooth beacons, tiny devices used by retailers which glean data from phones as people move about in public spaces. Apple’s use of Chinese subcontractors has led to speculation that the company’s products are at risk of being compromised by the Chinese government—a prospect that flies in the face of Apple’s reputation for being virtually unhackable. In August, Google researchers exposed a large-scale iPhone breach that, according to anonymous sources who spoke with the Web site Tech Crunch, was initiated by the Chinese government in order to surveil Uighurs. Google’s blog post about the incident, which failed to mention that Android phones had also been affected, described “mass exploitation” of iPhones. In a tersely worded response, Apple criticized Google for “stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case.”
If that's not enough, more here from the WaPost.

And (update, Jan. 21) Apple CAVED to the FBI in deciding not to encrypt cloud-backup information. But a commenter at Schneier on Security claims the Reuters piece is all wet. Given that the link is from an iCult site, why should I believe it? Many of the commenters at Bruce's piece are worth reading more, though. Most harsh up the Eff Bee Eye. A few have a bit of skepticism for Apple. Parabarbarian and Alejandro follow Eric of the "all wet" link in saying it was dum fuk iUsers that forced Apple to abandon this. Sounds like Steve Jobs for blaming users for fucking up the antenna on the one model of iPhone.

Now, Firefox has a version for mobile. And, it fits Apple's iOS as well as Android. Might save you from those more than 5,000 trackers a week that the WaPost columnist had.

That raises other issues.

The biggie is that, yes, iPhones are hackable. Apple computers, before the upgrade to OS X, were just about totally nonhackable. They're more hackable today, but because they have a small market share, and thus it's tough for them to spread Apple-based viruses, aren't worth hacking.

iDevices? Different story. The iPhone has a substantial market share. So does the iPad. So, it's worth hacking Mac's mobile OS.

Now? A reminder that behind the progressive turd polishing, Apple, with its planned obsolescence and breathlessly pushed upgrades, is bad for the environment, too. Lithium is the biggie, and the one that comes first to mind, but other metals are also a problem. As the coup in Bolivia and ongoing civil war in Congo show, this planned obsolescence also takes a human social and cultural toll.

This brings up yet other issues.

One is how much people are tethered to smartphones. All the articles above reflect that.

Another is how much they want to do with that smartphone. And Big Biz, and most Net browsers and the companies behind them, know that people will "pay" for lazy convenience.

Update: Cory Doctorow has a good piece about the issues I list and more. As with me, his angle is that Apple isn't WORSE than Facebook, Google or other tech companies, or than other product companies that have moved manufacturing to China, but it IS even more hypocritical than them.

And so are its cultist fanbois.


Update, Aug. 21, 2020: The myth of Apple protecting all your privacy rights takes another blow with revelation it once worked on a government-snoops friendly iPod.

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