Micah Lee and Peter Eckersley writing for EFF.org on the ‘crystal prison’ that is a locked os (like iOS) and the excuses given by companies that do this:
When technology and phone companies defend the restrictions that they are imposing on their customers, the most frequent defense they offer is that it’s actually in their customers’ interest to be deprived of liberty: “If we let people do what they want with their pocket computers, they will do stupid things with them. You will be safer and happier in our walled compound than you would be outside.”
This is an over simplification of the problem. The EFF calls for a ‘bill of rights’ that would allow users to choose to have an open device. There’s three important things I want to say here:
- One of the best reasons for a closed system is privacy and security. I don’t know about you but my iPhone contains massive amounts of very private data. From bank passwords, credit card numbers, and access to all my bank accounts. If the system were open I would have no guarantee that that data was still safe — hell even with Apple my address book is occasionally uploaded for no reason. If Apple has a hard time policing every app when they go through the approval process, how would I as an individual approve an app to make sure it was on the up and up?
- The EFF doesn’t lay out why a closed system is bad for a user. The best argument is that it makes it hard for apps under the GNU to be posted (think VLC), but even then that’s hardly a downside when compared to what I lay out in point one.
- Using iOS is not forced on people, it is a choice. If you want open you choose Android, if you want closed you choose iOS. It’s not something people bully you into using (well maybe Android is if you go to a cell carrier store), you are actively choosing to use a platform knowing the downsides. So how is it the responsibility of Apple to go open, when the user is saying: “I’m fine with closed”? The EFF isn’t fighting the good fight, they are just fighting to fight. Using iOS at all is a privilege, not a right — that alone gives Apple the right to do with it as they please.
Microsoft, like Apple, is moving toward a dangerous future where users have less freedom to do what they want with their computers, where developers are restricted in what they can accomplish, and where competition and innovation is stifled.
Less freedom? I’m sorry is Microsoft and Apple now asking to approve what website I visit? Is linux suddenly gone? I mean, come on.