Apple vs the World (v3)


There appears to be more column inches and passionate views on Apple as our protector than Britexit or not Britexit.  In fact I can find more facts supporting both sides of Apple vs the FBI than I can for either "Stay or Go" in the EU exit race!


This is my third viewpoint (rant) as more transpires and new ideas are presented.  I sense that the passion and division on this topic is not personal view on privacy or encryption as there is an undercurrent ( I believe) that this story is about marketing, economics and negotiation. #atlast.


Sense check: Do we all agree that we should educate our kids, have a great healthcare system, delivery peace over war, leave the earth better than we found it - probably yes.  Do we all differ on how we should implement these ideals - absolutely!  Everyone wants privacy and encryption, trackable terrorists and stopping criminals but we differ on how to implement it.  #experience


Since Apple vs the world and the implications of unlocking is about economics and not about encryption, Security or Privacy; it is worth thinking about the players and their motivations…..




Data is money and Apple loves money and controls more cash than some sovereign nations and at some point will take over the world and control you if you want it or not.


The Magna Carta came about in the UK to separate God and Gold.  The King could do anything before it and a wise decision was to separate ultimate power from money, you can have one but not both - alas Donald Trump would like to prove America wrong.  Apple is also trying to persuade you that you want privacy to enable them to get both, by protecting you….honest! #Justsaying.  A number of kings said "Trust me!, I will protect you as God is on my side and keep paying me"  That of course will never lead to corruption!


In my v2 I said Apple should do the best thing in all aspects and not pick and choose. Adding to that list, is doing the right thing hanging on to cash or repaturnating it to shareholders now that capital growth might be coming to an end?  You probably can protect privacy if your business does not depend on it or there is going to be a conflict of interest at some point #righthere_rightnow. Privacy is not a balance sheet item or something to be played with as a marketing term but somehow it has become just that.


As Apple (and all other data dependent business models) want more data, like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors saying "feed me" Apple needs more feeding with data.  The more you feed the more it needs; making and bringing about dependence.  Are you happy that the controller of the data and the protector of your data is one and the same. We have separate law making from the police for a reason.  


If I were Apple I would say I want to protect you to get access to your data and there is a law requiring them to do so #obvious


In a wider picture Apple is at the top of its game, products, cash, brand, perception, dominance and alas there is only one way to go.  What would happen if in 10 years Apple is bought by HTC/ Sony/Samsung/ LG/  or …. (game theory scenario) - what will you think about security, encryption, lock down then? Who and what are you offering your trust to?


Security forces and protection agencies


I now get it that Americans have a healthy distrust for all government agencies who are set up to protect them and all americans are looking for someone to stand up for them in this dysfunctional world, where the user is more able to protect himself than dependency on someone else. #4thAmendment.  #Fearsells  I am not convinced that the same level of distrust is applicable across all people and in all parts of the planet; some is worse and some don't know better.  Whilst the rich have access to substantial cash where I am sure it is possible to buy high data protection, for everyone else we need our taxes to help provide a service. But it is a service and we want to see it work and for that service to be held to public account, not set by a company whom I have no interest in or is too expensive for me to enter the fold. #privacyfortherich


The motivation is that we like to feel equality and that no one should be above the law and no one should make universal laws. However if you take the ability for the police to police away from then who will become the police?  Self regulation has a history of not quite working. Universal laws are very rare and so one company/ judge/ country should not be able to make a law or rule that applies to everyone.


Actually when you think about it we want the very agencies we distrust to provide the service that we cannot do ourselves and make sure that no-one else can be so trusted that we need to trust the distrusted to provide the protection against someone abusing our trust. Does that make any sense?


More importantly - how do we enable our agencies to do their job of protecting us?


The User


Personal privacy, and the responsibility each of us has to help find an answer is a wide, deep and complex topic of our times but nothing is new. Yes there is a new normal to be established and a new balance will need to be struck, but finding solid ground that all can live with and feel is acceptable is a long way off as we all have perceptions of what normal is and want type of normal we want.


As remarked a long time ago you are the product in a world dependent on your data.  If you want something for free you give something up.   So users we are now entering a choice period.  Pay for services and privacy or give up your rights and take what you are given for free.  The payment is to many services and product companies and not just one.  Apple can only keep your data safe on their device not everywhere - so why get so obsessed as they cannot protect you. #impossible


In reality we are a sacrificial pawn in a global complex chess game - we are fodder in the wider context and being dragged in without facts, data or insights and being asked to support something based on "trust me" I will protect you.  Sounds like Britexit and Trump again.


Is your individually and the belief you can protect yourself by buying Apple, when you have not and cannot ( be that protected) really a good enough trade for freedom and citizenship?  Do you have the right to trade something you don't own?  Since you don't own your data how can you stand up and ask for it to be protected?  Did you read those terms?


I have argued for a long time no-one owns data that there is only rights and control is futile in a digital world……. .  As we increasingly need to take more responsibility  of our own data, to understand it and use it for our purposes rather than having companies take and use it without our knowledge.  The choices you are part of become implication that we need to make our own minds up on, rather than delegate to others, because we all have a significant personal stake in how this plays out.  #Trustmeisnotgoodenough




So if one is unlocked/ cracked there will be an influx.  If Apple can charge $100K per crack I expect the problem goes away.  Volume is limited by a hurdle and it becomes a revenue stream and not a cost. #notaboutprivacy


I really don't get this mountain other than *fear* - but if there are that many then surely we are in more danger than we think and therefore protecting many phones from being unlocked means we are all doomed.  So either there are lots and someone should pay or there are a few and someone should pay, and volume will depend on price.


The tricky and thorny issue is the process by which we decide which ones and how and that is not up for a US judge to decide but I am sure they will try as that will become a president of note for ever. #motivation


so where are we….


In truth I have no idea about anyones motivations, if the phones have already been cracked and this is smoke and mirrors or some other scenario.  Personally I don't get the arguments other than this is something about marketing and positioning.

This case has been a long time coming and Judges will ultimately decide some outcomes in America for Apple vs the FBI, but the global ramifications and continued debate over what constitutes reasonable government or company access to data and how an individual agrees to terms; which enables others to control what you gave up for free, is going to be a long, complex, winding and emotional path.


So where are we; this is not about privacy it is about economics and Apple have pulled a blinder.  #Qudos