Jeff's "Apple's Consumer-hostile Design Choices Make Me Nuts" Thread

Discussion in 'Apple/iOS' started by lovelaptops, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Well said, @desertlap . There is an interesting counterpoint, which I wrestle with, both philosophically and in personal practice: since your privacy is gone, almost no matter what you do, unless you truly live as a luddite, are you just denying yourself some great services and conveniences by trying to avoid using, for example, Google products and services. I have my own limits - eg, allowing any microphones or cameras to function on devices unless I want them to - but for the rest, every secondary, tertiary....app and device sucks and sells all your personal data anyway. Chrome and Maps remain by far the most convenient tools to use among their peers - believe me, I've tried to boycott and suffer, especially when traveling, or switching among many devices. Since I know I can't protect my data/telemetry privacy, I've recently gone back to using these, and boy is life more pleasant. What do you (all) think?
     
  2. dellaster

    dellaster Technomad Senior Member

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    On the loss of privacy issue: sure, we’ve all lost our virginity to Google, et al, but does that mean we have to surrender and be their whores? (Please pardon the crude analogy.)

    I think there’s value in denying them having everything and especially to delay their acquisition of the latest private info. If it’s not up to date, it’s not as sellable to the highest bidders (or such is my understanding.)
     
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  3. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I agree with you, and I think it's a matter of pure economics. In other words just saying no means in a lot of cases paying incrementally more (the company has to make up the revenue somewhere)

    I also think consumers can play a role here as well. eg. when an app asks for permissions that they don't seem to need (like why does racing game need access to my contacts...) people need to speak up to the company, by contacting them and asking that.

    That can work. We had an app that we were considering for use in our company. It seemed to ask for permissions that simply weren't needed. When we contacted the company, they actually responded and changed the app. Though sadly the response in essence was that it was lazy programming for asking for a default set of permission that it didn't actually need.

    Apple and Google are taking baby steps here too with making permissions more granular, but that has a long way to go and they both do a terrible job of making it easy to do or even explaining how to do it.
     
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  4. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    That reminds me of the iOS Uber app, which for GPS only had the options "never" and "always". The huge number of one star reviews complaining about this didn't help. Then iirc Apple made the "when using the app" option mandatory, and then Uber said "in response to user requests, we made it possible to enable GPS it when using the app". Those evil ********.
     
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    So, I think you have both made excellent points and I am a strong believer in individual action - including boycotts - when I believe strongly that only through collective action - ie, large numbers of people boycotting, sending loud and clear messages to companies and causing them to incur costs by depriving them of your up-to-date data. Swallow hard. But...I have found that as my 63 years on earth have accumulated, I am weighing the personal/practical against the philosophical. The point I was making in my previous post was that I'm pretty certain that, through many products/services/channels Jeff's personal data is all collected up to the minute and sold and resold every nanosecond, even if I totally boycott Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple. And I can do without them and I want to be part of sending them a message that will cause them to change their ways - mostly have clear, easy to folow *opt-ins* for all use of my data. I would also be willing to pay a reasonable fee to have some of their services without their use of my information. But there is no option to pay for Google Maps with no data access, the way I often pay developers to remove ads.

    So it comes down to the tradeoff between convenience and philosophy again, because my premise is that my privacy is ultimately unprotectable, whether or not I take all the steps available (no Google, Facebook...etc, VPN - which greatly slows down wifi, especially overseas, etc, etc....), it will get out and it will be sold on the open market. Fortunately, except for identity theft, I am at an age and stage of life where there is little risk to me if others access my personal information and I do all that I think one can to protect against identity theft, and carry insurance in case I fall victim (eg, Equifax hacks, etc - note, there are so many "etcs" in this post because there are *so* many ways that your best laid strategies to protect yourself will likely fail!) So this is a tradeoff of philosophy and individual activism vs convenience. Though it embarrasses me to admit this, I'm having trouble justifying the at times large inconvenience of using substitutes to Google (if you have long boycotted Chrome, Maps and, to a lesser extent, Gmail, you may not know how good that ecosystem has become and how far ahead they are with AI for consumer services vs. all others, particularly the smaller players if you are trying to stay away from all the major players. I happen to believe that it will take governmental action - litigation and legislation to get these companies to behave honestly, further reducing my belief in the power of boycotts in consumer tech. That said, I do have qualms, which is why I started this topic (which probably should have its own thread).

    For the 2-3 of you who may have bothered to read this, I wonder what you think after hearing my deeper, er, rationalization. :oops:

    EDIT: fwiw, I have reduced my use of Amazon by 80%, taken Facebook off my phone and only use it occasionally to see how friends and family are doing. Also, as a life-long non-Apple user I'm pretty sure that I could drop Google entirely if I adopted all-Apple platforms, something I've been strongly considering, beginning with the purchase of a 2019 iPP. I'm not really sure I trust Apple all that much more than Google long term, even if their main business is not dependent on giving stuff away so they can steal your data.
     
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  6. dellaster

    dellaster Technomad Senior Member

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    @lovelaptops — Jeff, if you’re comfortable with it then continue on. I know that for more and more people nowadays it’s more trouble than it’s worth to maintain any privacy. Me, I guess I’m a fossil stuck in the past and can’t easily change my ways. It bothers me when someone, anyone, noses into my personal things without permission. Or even with permission if there wasn’t any choice.

    Case in point: back when I lived in southern Maryland I leased an apartment and didn’t notice that in the fine print I authorized them to come in and inspect pretty much at-will. And they did so, which I hated so very much. Strangers going through my private space and never knowing when they'd do so. Grr!

    One time I had some poppy seed bagels in the freezer and the inspector freaked out, declaring in a warning notice—with a hysterical flavor to the writing—that I was so slovenly that I had let roaches take over, evidenced by their droppings in the freezer (poppy seeds). She had an exterminator come in, who found nothing of course, and I had to take time off work to be present when she re-inspected for “droppings”. No apologies were forthcoming for the error.

    Anyway, Google and the others digging into my privacy gives me the same kind of bad feelings so I’m willing to give up some conveniences to inconvenience them. YMMV, naturally.
     
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  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Ted. Sounds like a terrible invasion of your privacy. I do feel heavily conflicted over this, which is why I reached out to the people I respect and trust the most on these matters.
     
  8. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Ted, that is truly dissapointing.

    Sadly, the privacy debate seems to be a lot like the gun debate. Some awful thing occurs, lots of proclamations and gnashing of teeth and then it's quickly forgotten until the next incident occurs.

    I do beleive there are things that we all can do including not just blindly accepting whatever the big guys throw at us, but at least questioning. Apple's secure enclave on the iphone is a good if small first step as is Googles making the data they collect about you at least viewable to you.

    The more troubling thing on the horizon to me is the rise of AI. Specifically we have already seen software that can take what is supposed to be anonymous user data and if they know one specific thing they can use it to determine a whole bunch more.

    Companies are starting to take steps here too. Our company has an "employee digital bill of rights". It's a small step, but it lays out what data the company keeps on you as well as what your responsiblities are when working and using company devices. The best step is that when we consider a new business partner or purchase a piece of hardware or software, it must be compliant with that " bill of rights"

    Like I said baby steps...
     
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  9. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Thanks for another thoughtful post, @desertlap. That digital bill of rights sounds like more than baby steps. It strikes me as an example that all organizations should follow if for no other reason than that it forces thinking about the consequences of adopting - and refraining from adopting - digital tech that increasingly is happening without such thought. Your company sounds like it operates on the forefront of many areas in the technology industry and it sounds like it is far more proactive and progressive than most of your peers. I understand why you wouldn't cite your company's name, but I'm curious as to how large it is, by any metric you are comfortable citing. It also sounds as if you have a lot of excitement-about and pride-in your firm. Are you in management or more in the professional/technical side of the business. Regardless, thanks for sharing the many important insights you have - about specific products, the behavior of major tech firms and where trends are headed - from your perch.
     
  10. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Very true. If you haven't looked at it, look at EFF's Panopticlick. It shows that websites can with very high accuracy recognize return visitors based on various browser signatures (extenstions/fonts/screen resolution, and many more). So until they link that browser to a person (which honestly probably isn't all that difficult) they keep a record of browsing habits anyway. Recently I heard that even using an incognito browser doesn't 100% avoid such browser fingerprinting. Scary stuff.

    Honestly the best we can do is mitigate data collection, since we definitely can't eliminate it. I'm on the paranoid side of this myself. When I look up anything medical (for myself or others) I use an incognito browser. I should probably use a VPN on top of that. I switched to Microsoft's Chromium based browser, which stripped out a lot of Google's sync stuff (and thus data gathering). On the phone side I can't bring myself to switch to Android, for security and privacy reasons. Apple all the way, despite their.. consumer hostile pricing! :D

    Not only that, but the way AI/machine learning can nudge consumers purely for profit optimization without any responsibility/accountability is a bit scary. If been saying for years that the job of Facebook and others is to keep us distracted. Any time we're doing actual productive work is time not spent generating ad revenue. So effectively (puts on tinfoil hat) society is already under attack by AI.. who knew it wasn't going to be robots knocking at our doors!

    On that note, it's a bit ironic to be having this discussion on a website that doesn't support https.. :confused:
     
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