The Arrogance of Big Tech

What is it about technology companies and their nearly universal disregard for users, regulators and even society? Swimming in huge piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck, have they forgotten the difference between right & wrong?

I get it, living in a capitalist society like the United States, money is the measure of success and Big Tech has a lot of it, but have they forgotten the source of all their riches?

That Apple is Rotten to the Core

Apple recently announced a feature in the next version of iOS that would allow all images on an iPhone to be compared to an existing database of images without the user’s knowledge or permission.

The feature was presented as a way to stop the spread of child specific abusive material (CSAM), but despite this noble cause, the feature is actually a backdoor into iOS that CEO Tim Cook swore Apple would never build back in 2016. 

Expecting praise for doing the world a favour, Apple was hammered by pundits, politicians and people who correctly identified the move as indeed a backdoor. Even world-famous NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden described Apple’s move as declaring war on privacy.

A little over two weeks later, Apple bowed to the pressure and issues a statement brimming with wounded arrogance: 

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material”

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.” 

Do me a favour will you? 

Despite having hundreds of lawyers and probably an equal number of lobbyists and policy wonks, how could Apple not foresee this backlash? 

My bet is they knew this would happen but they simply don’t care. 

If you can afford to spend $5 billion on a new head office that looks like a spaceship, and you can pay the CEO a $750 million bonus, you can afford to not care about your users. Apple thinks they were doing us a favour by announcing their intention to eliminate every iPhone and iCloud user’s right to privacy.

In fact, they simply showed the world an example of unbridled Big Tech arrogance. Our world must remain alert because the next time Apple decides to violate our privacy, they may not warn us.