Face the Facts: Apple gets too much slack

By Uluroo — November 13, 2017

After years of having zero access to your biometric data, Apple has decided to change things up and build a database of Face ID information. Or something like that.

They’re watching you. They see your every move. They know all about you. They may have a database of your biometric data. Who are they? The government? No. Apple? Yes.

Independent’s Hamish McRae says that “Consumers seem happy for Apple's iPhone X to know more about us than our own Government does, but it won't last.”

If you are one of the early adopters and have got your hands on the iPhone X - or even if you plan to do so shortly - ponder this. Why does society cut Apple so much slack?

Why do we cut them so much slack? We should spend more time writing articles like these, where we make up reasons we shouldn’t give Apple so much slack.

Now think about your iPhone. It knows who you are. It knows where you are. It knows how many steps you have taken that day, or any day. It knows who you have spoken with and the sites you have visited. It may know how much you paid for your lunch. True, any smartphone with the right apps knows all this and more. But the iPhone X knows something else: It knows with great precision exactly what you look like, for that is how you can unlock it.

It knows so much! That’s got to be a privacy concern. Uluroo finds it ironic that people are getting concerned now that Apple is including a very secure facial recognition system when far less secure ones have existed in Android phones for years. The iPhone X knows more about your face. That’s what makes it more secure. If it knew less, it would be less secure. Just the fact that iPhones know so much information doesn’t make them a privacy concern; it’s how they handle the information that’s important. iPhones have historically handled users’ information better than their competitors.

Please clear your mouth of any liquids or foods. This is your final warning. The next passage may cause involuntary spit takes.

We willingly give a US commercial company information that we feel squeamish about our own elected governments retaining.

There is so much wrong going on here. A whole truckload of wrong in one sentence. First, Hamish is implying that we totally trust the government and if we can’t trust the government with our data, we can’t trust anyone. Well... the government isn’t the most trustworthy party to handle our information. Apple has a good track record with privacy and has actually earned its buyers’ trust. The government? Well, it doesn’t need to because it looks like it’s going to get our information no matter what we think. Second, consumers aren’t giving Apple said information. The iPhone X stores facial scan data exclusively on the device itself. Apple doesn’t have any of that data.

Privacy is not the only area where our societies cut Apple (and indeed Facebook and Google) a lot of slack. Look at monopoly.

In this next truckload of wrong, we discover that Apple is a “monopoly” because it makes more money than its competitors. Hey Siri, define monopoly.

The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.

Apple has neither of those. It makes vastly more money on a much smaller portion of the market. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with capitalism.

Now look at tax. The European Commission is planning to take Ireland to court for not claiming the $13bn in back taxes from what the Commission considers to be illegal tax benefits. This is a legal issue so let's see what the courts decide. But it is also a moral issue. Think how people would feel were it a bank or an oil company that was accused of such practices. Yet Apple has pretty much escaped popular opprobrium.

What’s funny is that Hamish doesn’t even cite examples of how Apple somehow immorally gains tax benefits. None of Apple’s actions regarding taxes have been illegal. If you have a problem with the game, change the rules. Don’t try to fire the players.

Or take working practices of Apple's suppliers. I should not think that the companies in China that make the Apple phones treat their workers any worse than most...

... But I’m going to cite this in an anti-Apple article and pretend it’s Apple’s problem.

The question is: Why do we treat Apple with such reverence?

Despicable moneymaker that it is.

I think there are several bits to the answer... First, the products are wonderful... Consumer satisfaction trumps questions about business practice.

Uh, no. Consumer satisfaction wins because all these major tech companies have poor factory working conditions. There’s no good alternative to Apple products that isn’t made in such conditions, so the best products win.

Second, the monopoly element is by choice. People choose to buy the stuff.

Right! Which is what makes it not a monopoly! There are alternatives! Good thing Hamish still managed to slip the “Apple is a monopoly” part past the editors when he refuted himself five paragraphs later.

Third, deep down most people don't really care about privacy, or at least not nearly as much as many political activists think they do.

Right. That’s why they decided to buy the iPhone X, the most secure phone Apple has ever made.

I'm not sure, however, how long this benign attitude, not just to Apple but also to the other high-tech American giants, will last.
It is a stage of history - I think a rather wonderful stage of history - but it will pass. And then we will become much more questioning, and probably more concerned.

Let Uluroo get this straight. Hamish thinks this is a wonderful stage of history... and he was just saying we trust Apple too much? Kinda makes you wonder why the guy bothered writing this at all.

Well, Uluroo hopes you enjoyed today’s lesson. We learned that Apple can access the data on your iPhone that it hasn’t been able to for years, that its legal tax practices are wrong, and that the poor working conditions in everyone’s factories are suddenly Apple’s problem. What a lesson! Class dismissed. Now, to enrich what you just learned, print out the attached Independent article and flush it down the nearest toilet.