Part 1 in the 3 part series.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook recently refused to help the US government to access data from an iPhone used by a terrorist, was he really protecting other iPhone users? Or was he afraid of causing financial loss to the company that made him a billionaire? This story caused a lot of discussion in the ongoing debate of protection of personal data using encryption versus human security. Regarding the iPhone, an Israeli firm was hired to hack into it and provide access to the data for the US government. They succeeded.
To read above article click on picture of headline.
There are lessons to be learned from this story, but it’s not the great encryption debate that interests this newsletter. Its interest is more practical: money. The revelation is not that the US government was able to hire “hackers” to decrypt the phone that was advertised as the safest in the world. The revelation is not that millions of people around the world pay significant amounts of dollars for so-called updated equipment, devices and software either.
The revelation is known by many for a long time and suspected by many others: the real reason behind “updates” is not better protection and enhanced performance, it is your money! How? The answer follows.
Unless they purchased a lemon, people are generally happy with the performance of their devices, peripherals and software in the beginning. Yet a few years later, and even every year for some, the usual refrains are heard: “Ah it’s slowing down. It’s aging so it must be time to change it.” The truth is that your device is the same, exactly, as the first day you bought it. Yet it is undeniable that its performance has tanked. So if your device is the same, what has changed? What’s changed is hidden “behind the curtain.”
Notifications for software updates arrive on our screens with promises of “better performance”, “more options” and “improved security.” I purposely put the promises in quotes to show that, while they are not outright lies, they amount to mostly marketing. Because at the end of the day, it is the “100 kg” updates that will cripple your devices designed for “50 kg” software only. How’s that for enhanced performance and security? And more options? Good luck with that.
The Internet is filled with stories of disappointed customers who have had their devices updated. Computers, tablets and smartphones, all have suffered similar fates at one time: they become painfully slow, or worse, crash. Some will try to find a solution themselves or will hire a technician for assistance. Many others, frustrated and even disgusted, simply replace their devices. Landfills are filled with computer devices that can work perfectly with their original software. All these investments in time and money thrown away because of updates forced by manufacturers who want to sell you their “new and improved” devices. Perhaps one day we shall have a law that will force manufacturers to offer devices with 100% replaceable parts and complete recycling of toxic materials. Until then, mountains of toxic products continue to expand.
In Part 2, the next newsletter: Do updates really give us greater security?
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