It seems the major cell phone OS companies just can’t let us have a break from their controversial shenanigans this month. First, highlighting both the vulnerabilities of the Android operating system, and Google’s powers to deal with it, we learned that the several apps in the Android Marketplace came with a bonus feature: a worm that could transmit you and your phones private info to the controllers of the virus. In a move that shouldn’t have been shocking, since the ability to do so is both written into the EULA for the Android OS and is found on every other cell phone OS, Google admitted that it had the power to reach into private users’ phones and remove the offending program remotely and without any notification to the user. Now, they sent notification anyway, apparently learning from the Buzz fiasco, but many people were still shocked and offended. Despite giving consent through the EULA, and despite the ability to do this sort of thing is standard for Google, RIM’s Blackberry OS, iOS, WinPhone7, and even Symbian and Palm OS.
Then, we shockingly discovered the meaning of the once-cryptic phrase found in our phone’s user guide: “iOS/Android may periodically send anonymous location information to Apple/Google.” Turns out, it means that iOs/Android may periodically send anonymous location information to Apple/Google. Mass hysteria and populist outrage broke out when it was discovered that Apple, and later Google, would periodically get location updates from users with smartphones. Because anonymous user information collection is now an invasion of privacy, because Apple “MIGHT” take the next step and collect private information, and then it “MIGHT” take the next step to selling or doing bad things with that information, and then it “MIGHT” trip on a slippery slope and then it’s goodbye freedom, hello 1984. Or, on the other hand, Apple “MIGHT” use it’s billions upon billions in cash reserves to simply tranquilize all Americans and implant them with a GPS location device, saving themselves a huge PR hassle.
Finally, it seems that congress has found itself with nothing to do and has plenty of time to kill (you know, now that the economy is completely fixed, unemployment is in the negatives, and we have secured freedom and democracy in every country in the world), so it has launched an investigation into the location tracking done by Apple and whether it was legal for apple to build in this capability. Despite a law passed in 2001 saying that this capability had to be built in. By law. Passed by congress. Rumor has it that Jobs has refused to acknowledge the congressional probe because it was formated for PC’s and could not be read.