Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Why I won’t buy an Apple product
by Larry Geller
Here’s a description of a patent applied for by Apple, Inc. (United States Patent Application 20100207721, August 19, 2010) describing a spy system that could be inserted into your iPhone or other Apple product. The spyware could, for example, listen in on your conversation, even if your phone is off. Yup, all those sweet nothings you whisper could end up in an Apple database if your iPhone is on the night table spying on you.
This patent application does nothing short of providing a roadmap for how Apple can — and presumably will — spy on its customers and control the way its customers use Apple products. As Sony-BMG learned, spying on your customers is bad for business. And the kind of spying enabled here is especially creepy — it's not just spyware, it's "traitorware," since it is designed to allow Apple to retaliate against you if you do something Apple doesn't like.
Essentially, Apple's patent provides for a device to investigate a user's identity, ostensibly to determine if and when that user is "unauthorized," or, in other words, stolen. More specifically, the technology would allow Apple to record the voice of the device's user, take a photo of the device's user's current location or even detect and record the heartbeat of the device's user. Once an unauthorized user is identified, Apple could wipe the device and remotely store the user's "sensitive data." [EFF, Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware, 8/23/2010]
(Thanks to Viviane Lerner for pointer to this article. I see she is using Apple Mail, version 2.753.1.)
I read about this on Forbes.com, they seem to feel that the evesdropping issue is overstated, but not being a tech guy I really don't know. But a word of caution for anyone wanting to spy on me using my iPhone camera, I put my iPhone in the back pocket of my pants which has a hole in it and I wear neither briefs or boxers.