It’s hard to argue against stories like this and this because any nut job can accuse you of being anti-privacy or an apologist. These stories have some merit, but come on. At what point does this stop? We’re coming up on a year of these types of stories. Next up — BREAKING: Android and iOS can access your processor core.
Nilay Patel has the best response I’ve seen yet:
BREAKING NEWS: Every Mac OS X app can view all your photos!twitpic.com/8qok8b— nilay patel (@reckless) March 1, 2012
Android and iOS are operating systems that run on computers. Granted, these computers are smaller than the ones you grew up with, but they’re still computers. And guess what? In many ways, they work like computers have in past — including the ability of accessing your other files. It’s a feature, not a bug.
I get that mobile devices are the most personal forms of computing yet. And anytime you say that anything or anyone can “secretly copy” your photos, you’re going to get people running for the hills (and more importantly, reading your story).
Not everything done in computing is intended to be nefarious. At some point, you simply have to trust that someone — be it Apple, Google, or an app developer — isn’t out to screw you over. Likewise, when you leave your house each day, you have to trust that you’re not going to be mugged. You may well be, but you can’t live your life in fear of it or you’d never leave your house.
The New York Times apparently wants us to have smartphones that prompt you to make sure you want to turn them on, prompt you to make sure you want to open an app, prompt you to make sure you want to send a tweet, prompt you to make sure you want to jump from an app to a web page, prompt you to make sure you want to adjust the brightness (a stranger may be able to read your phone more easily over your shoulder!!).
We’re one step away from a call for apps that prompt you if you’d like a prompt about something. Excuse me while I go hide in a hut in the woods and write a manifesto.