2016-07-03 – I don’t pay much attention to tech controversies. I don’t really care if Facebook changes algorithms. I know I should but I don’t. Al Gore could have been President of the United States if he’d had some rhythm. But he didn’t and you can’t go back. (So much the pity.)
A recent news item did catch my attention, however: It seems that Apple has patented technology that can remotely turn off your iPhone video camera—without your knowledge or permission. This supposedly is great news for entertainers who are peeved at commoners for taking videos at their concerts.
They are peeved about grainy, inaudible videos that we take for our personal use. And Apple wants to shut that down. Meanwhile, Apple, through iTunes and Apple Music, has been making billions off these same artists. Would these artists rather shut down Apple, as a threat to their livelihood, or you and me and our miserable home-made videos? Ask Taylor Swift. Or Jay-Z.
The media moguls (almost) always have the upper hand with “their” talent.
But that’s not what peeved me about this new patent. What peeved me is that the technology isn’t going to be limited to the concert hall. If this technology is implemented as a product, what is to stop governments and corporations to use it to cover up wrong doing?
It is common knowledge that police hate when citizens record their activities. And businesses have tried for decades to keep people from reporting on their wrong-doing. Imagine how this technology can be used in their hands. Donald Trump would love to get his hands on it.
This is not the first nasty Apple story to get my attention. A couple of months ago, I read a story about an Apple Music feature that creeps around through your music files and sometimes deletes what you have. NPR reported that the deletions are not intentional, but they don’t give them back. If someone was wandering through your house and “accidentally” picked up some CDs you own and didn’t give them back, you’d call the police. If Apple does it . . . well, you accepted their terms of service. Right?
A few months before that, Apple was deciding whether the FBI could get into the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooters.
And a few months before that . . .
And right now, my Windows computer is giving me a warning every five minutes that my iCloud storage is almost full and I can’t turn of the notification (I have tried). So Apple will continue to notify me every five minutes unless I buy more storage from them.