Wednesday, 4 May 2011

iSpy with my little eye

Recently, another technological privacy-related scandal hit the news - this time it's Apple and its iPhone. Turns out, it tracks users' every step and gathers locational data. This is becoming something of a trend now - Google Buzz and Google Street View being particularly notorious.

However, what's most amusing is the reaction of public. Public goes "oh, iPhone tracks me? So what, i got nothing to hide". This is exactly the attitude that got every US and UK citizen under constant surveillance. I am not going to go on and tell you how much surevillance sucks and why exactly does it suck. If people don't give a fuck, that does not mean it is a good idea to exploit their ignorance.

No less amusing is the reaction of Apple. Apple first goes "no, this is bullshit, it's not tracking anyone", and then goes "uuuh, sorry, here's a patch that disables tracking".

What the fuck is that?! They, like what, didn't know?! Apple happened to not know that their own flagship product intentionally tracks people's location? Of course they knew. And they would get away with it if it wasn't for hackers to tear the OS apart and discover that thing. That is precisely why manufacturers are afraid of hackers - because they might have better skills than Apple's (Sony's, whatever) guys, and they aren't in it for the money.

However, this underlines a deeper problem. First of all, why this is happening at all?! Why manufacturers are allowed to get away with that shit? Why every device out there is trying to track its user's location? Government officials having access to such technology - OK, fair enough, i can at least relate to that (crime fighting and all), but private companies?! Come on guys, let's give any Tom, Dick and Harry my geolocational data, let us all live in harmony.

And second, why, when it is proven to be true, manufacturers can get away with "sorry, here's a patch"?! Next time someone catches me downloading movies from torrents i'll go "um, sorry, look - i deleted the movie".

No, seriously, this is bullshit. Aren't there any laws concerning misleading marketing materials? Of course, one can say that the words of Apple officials aren't considered marketing materials, but then what are they, if not another pile of marketing bullshit? When the company makes an official statement that is then proven to be not only wrong, but was an act of deliberate misinformation - shouldn't the company be held accountable for its irresponsible actions concerning such a sensitive topic and for trying to hide the facts so blatantly, when even software that reads that data was already released?

Maybe it's time for us to finally realize what open-source really means. Many eyes doesn't necessarily means more security, but at least it would be impossible to pull off a stunt similar to Apple's recent achievements.

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