Control and Convenience

With such powerful pervasive technology companies, it is scary to think about how easily actors such as the government could access lots of data given lawful permission.  If Apple were forced by the government to build phones or laptops with a backdoor, then we would all have to concede privacy.  This essentially happened in the past with the FBI listening to phone calls over AT&T’s pervasive telephone lines, so there is precedent for the government forcing companies to give the government access to data.

 

With so many technological options that have slight variation, we could survive if one system were shut down such as email.  Texting, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other methods could take over the functions, which is very different from before when email was the only means of internet communication.  This defers from China where Weibo is essentially everything, which allows government to easily control data.  The competing companies not only benefit us with healthy competition that breeds innovation and low (free) prices, but also makes it so no centralized organization controls everything we interact with.

 

The question of censorship arises once again when comparing Apple’s iPhone App Store and the Google Play store.  Apple has stringent app verification process while the Google Play store has allowed scam apps such as multiple fake Whatsapp.  I think that these app stores should deny apps that are blatant scams and rip offs of other apps where blatant could mean having the same name or tricking users into spending money.  Apple originally denied apps that used Flash Player, which I do not think they should have censored apps in this way as the apps were not blatantly detrimental to users.

 

It is crazy to listen about the initial protocols of the internet and all of the adventures that brought the internet to what we have today.  We take for granted how well the internet works for all of us and are extremely dependent on it.  If the internet were to go down, we would all be lost.

1 Comment »

  1. Jim Waldo

    November 12, 2017 @ 12:50 pm

    1

    Interesting thoughts here…particularly the parallel between the Apple App store and the overall control attempted by China and the Google play distribution mechanism with the open competition of the U.S. market. I was talking to a Chinese student at the Kennedy school not long ago who pointed out that what we see as censorship is seen in China as a way to protect people on the Internet from crime and malware.

    Distinguishing protection from censorship and control is hard. Even in the case of Flash it can be hard– while Flash was a competing platform, it is also notorious as a vector for viruses. It isn’t clear who Apple was protecting– their customers, or themselves.

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