Fallen Apple

Dear Apple,

It is sad to see you fall from your high horse into the pit of surveillance hell. You took a stand on Privacy and stuck to it all these years. I, among many, used your products for one reason only : Privacy. I tried to salvage/protect whatever is left of my privacy from Internet behemoths. I took some inconvenience of using your products on the chin, simply because of your stand on Privacy. I watched every single keynote of yours for the past 10 years. Defended your privacy stands with those who argued in favor of Android. Stuck my neck out to recommend your products to others. You had my total belief. Now all came crashing by this single announcement.

People praise your intention but doubt that this could be mishandled. But I doubt that intention in first place. The intention, in the garb of protecting already exploited children, is to create a backdoor into our devices. We pay “Apple Tax” when buying your hardware and now that you’re in Services space, we pay apple tax for using your services too. You have a stranglehold on us already. I am amazed by the audacity with which you now say that you will have a hold on our devices too. Rene Ritchie put it best when he said, I am paraphrasing, that by implementing this feature, you’re taking away the sanctity of consumers’ phones.

Privacy activists praised you for your refusal to create a backdoor to government in an alleged terrorist case. You introduced Privacy features which irked the Evil Social Media Empire(ESME) i.e. Facebook. We all “lol”ed at those barbs thrown at you by the evil empire.  It was nice to see a bully crying. Now if I think about it, at least the ESME was honest (to a degree) about what it was doing. It never took a stand on Privacy like you did. Now you’re kowtowing to the government and asking us to believe you. You lost our trust, Apple. Plain and Simple.

I find it appalling that in your PR blitz when trying to clear the “misunderstanding” about new “feature” you take such a high ground in sticking to the point that scanning photos on consumer’s phone is safe from privacy perspective. In the end you still are scanning the photos. And you mention that this feature is coming to US first, but in your interview to tech crunch your representative had mentioned that since IoS is Global, every phone sold across the world will have this capability (i.e. generating neural hashes). It will be just a matter of time before different governments provide a different database of marginalized/oppressed/activist list and ask you to provide the matching consumer list. You have the gall to say that you will not encourage/address such requests, when in fact you already did it in China, when VPNs were asked to be removed from Chinese App Store. We have ourselves to blame as well, since we shut our eyes to the happenings in China, thinking we will be safe.

Last month we all came to know about was Pegasus spyware, which successfully infected the Iphones running on latest OS. With flurry of such malicious spywares available/coming in future, wouldn’t this be a matter of time when some spyware places photos that match the database of yours and trigger a call for review? The process will be the punishment for those who need to prove their innocence. 

People, whose activities you’re planning to prevent, if aware would already be using different ways to consume/spread such material. But it’s those millions of unsuspecting/innocent consumers who will suffer by your action. You assume everyone to be Guilty. If you had cared enough about children, you would have taken steps to prevent child labor in the Iphone manufacturing factories.

I wonder what made you come up with this now. Is it because of the many Anti-Trust litigation heard in the US courts or is it a fear due to the increasing talk of breaking Tech Monopolies? I am now beginning to wonder whether your “large heartedness” to allow storage of photos in Icloud temporarily to be restored in a new device has some sinister motive behind it. Carlin used to Joke about Clinton being honest, I think the same about other tech giants being honest about their stand on privacy. Your action now makes you an hypocrite.

Despite the outrages, I am sure you’re going to go ahead with this. Because most of the customers won’t be aware of the feature in first place and secondly what other choice do we have? Go to Android???? Marvel of Free Market economy is playing right in front our eyes.

I have no choice but to use your devices, without upgrading to latest OS. You are soon going to make my phone obsolete, so that you can make more money. But unless you reverse your decision and stick with your nice slogans “Privacy as Human Right and what happens on your Iphone stays on Iphone” this will be the beginning of your downward spiral. Not that I am a soothsayer, but as person who knows/believes in few proverbs (thanks to Carlin) “Pride Cometh before Fall”. Wish your pride/arrogance, which we have given a pass until recently, will bring down your trillion dollar empire.


“Furious Ex-Apple Fan person”

PS: You protect your privacy on Notes app to such an extent that not even the owner of the phone can access the notes, if the owner forgets the password. To see that you take a 360 degree turn is a sore sight.

PPS: There are examples popping up already where the data base has been hacked to place random photos and others who attempted such thing in the past for research arguing how this is a recipe for disaster. Good luck on your one in a trillion false positive claim.

PPPS: Screw You!!!!

Articles explaining push back on this feature : 1, 2, 3, 4 (important one from EFF)

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