Thursday, July 5, 2012

Corporate Creepiness

I have been becoming more and more concerned about the sort of terms and conditions corporations are setting. You buy something... at least, you think you've brought it.

The big darling child of this sort of mentality is Apple. They'll keep you safe by not allowing any applications that they don't deem to be fit for your device to be installed. Never mind what you might want on there. People - you don't own an iPhone or iPad. You've paid for the rights to use Apple's shiny toy. Just wait - they'll do this to their desktops too if they think they can get away with it.

But Apple aren't the only ones pulling this sort of stunt. Oh no - there are other creeps waiting in the shadows. Cisco want you on their cloud service and are watching. Downloading something that they deem unfit? They're able to disable your router! Sorry - their router.

And then there's the horribly upfront creep. "So... where are you? What are you doing?". They needn't ask. They probably already know. I'm talking about Google. There are various "features" on Android phones (which admittedly you have to turn on) that can broadcast your location to a few trusted friends... Want to use Flash? On Linux Adobe are cutting support of Flash plugin and so the only way you'll be able to view Flash content is to use Google Chrome (the non-opensource version that is) or one of the horribly inferior opensource versions (if Adobe don't want to support it anymore, how about opening up the source code?). Google chrome, when you first start it up, keeps asking you to log in. Hell, if you set a home page, it'll open the sign in page AND the home page. And then there's the really creepy stalking - i.e. taking information about your wireless router when doing the Google street view drive bys.

But Google are convenient you might say. They allow us to print to anywhere (Google Cloud Print) and give us email and docs. Need to buy something? How about giving Google Products a go? Published a book? Yay Google Books! I recently left AuckLUG (The Auckland Linux Users Group) because they choose to use Google Groups - something that I felt wasn't in the spirit of Linux people (if we wanted easy, we probably would have just stuck to using MS Windows. It was already installed after all). Google even have SMS services in some countries. Hell, I could go on, but why not just visit the rather useful wikipedia page that lists the services? See which ones give you a chill down your spine.

Just wait... they'll be pulling an Apple/Cisco trick next - sell you hardware that you don't actually own! Oh.... wait...

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