August 9, 2021

Privacy, Part 2.

With the Apple privacy discussions taking place on the Internet, undoubtedly led by those referred to as the “screeching minority”, I’ve had a couple of people tell me I’m crazy because of my stance of digital rights and privacy. I’m used to being called crazy; one of my greatest fears of all my life is folks discovering how crazy I really am and throwing me into some sort of group home or mental ward because of this discovery. But that’s for another blog entry.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Apple is going to start scanning photos destined for their iCloud Photo service. This scanning will take place directly on the device that you, the consumer, purchased from Apple. They’re not looking at the contents of these photos, they’re looking at the “digital fingerprint” of these photos and comparing it to a third-party list of “digital fingerprints” to identify illegal photos of children. It’s a noble cause, but with the scanning taking place on your personal property, it feels like guilty before innocent to me. In these discussions of “I have nothing to hide” being propagated by those that want to remain in Apple’s good graces for PR purposes, they claim what difference does it make if Apple does these scans on your device or after they arrive at their destination. When I liken the practice to old-style books of photos and Apple coming into your house to flip through the pages of your photo albums in person, I get downvoted on Reddit, told I’m hysterical, and that I might have something to hide.

I have nothing to hide. I live my life pretty out loud, and while there are many aspects of my life I haven’t outright shared, there’s plenty I have shared. However, no one was rifled through my closet looking for things to share. It’s been my choice.

Look, if I ever cross an international border again and a border agent asks me for my phone, two things are going to happen. I’m going to refuse to unlock my phone for the official and either I’m going to erase the thing with the panic switch or I’m going to hurl the phone at the ground so hard it’ll smash and be useless for all involved. Or both. There is no reason for anyone to go through my phone. Ever. With the constant push from big tech to move our wallet and our photos and our passports and our IDs and our correspondence and our family history and our health information and god knows what else into these maddening little devices, it’ll be a cold day in hell when someone scans my phone potentially carrying all this information. I don’t know why anyone would do that. Would a woman hand over her purse? Would a man hand over his wallet? Would you unload all the cartons of photos in the moving van so the border agents can take a look? I certainly hope not. Your smartphone is no different.

I don’t care what you do with your data. I don’t care who you share your data with. But your cavalier, irresponsible attitude should not set the precedent for those of us that still care about privacy and believe that as a human being we are entitled to privacy. I don’t care if it’s convenient for you to run around with your credit cards attached to your phone and you’re glued to your little screen 23 hours a day. You do you, I’ll do me, and those of us in the “screeching minority” will continue to screech about the importance of privacy, all the while you give it away to corporations that’s couldn’t care less about you.