“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."—John viii. 32.
In an era where technology is interwoven with every facet of our lives, the companies behind these innovations wield immense power. Apple Inc., a Goliath of the industry known for its sleek marketing campaigns and user- infantilizing system designs, often gets celebrated in the media limelight.
However, beneath the polished surface lies a nasty web designed to entrap the unwary and suck metaphorical (and perhaps literal) blood from the world.
I want to challenge the idea that Apple has a reasonable commitment to user privacy, environmental responsibility, and open competition. It’s time for a shift towards open-source hardware and software, aligning with principles of freedom, transparency, and sustainability. Companies like Framework are advancing this type of technology ecosystem and will, I hope, soon drive out the old monsters of the tech world.
Isn’t Apple all about privacy?
Apple’s known for its privacy-centric advertisements. But those ads are blatant lies. Statements from the company’s own legal team reveal a devilishly different stance.
Apple’s lawyers have candidly expressed that “no reasonable user would expect that their actions in Apple’s apps would be private from Apple," a massive disconnect between their slick advertising and reality.
Of course, Apple has a lot of experience covering up after itself. After facing significant criticism for its labor practices, including the injury and death of children in cobalt mines within Apple’s supply chain, Apple covered itself carefully, distancing itself from its supply chain and pivoting to a “green” and “ethical” advertising campaign. But these issues highlight a broader pattern of exploiting vulnerable labor markets, as evidenced by their poor score in the Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, highlighting its lack of governance over human rights risks.
Will the Department of Justice get its act together?
In early 2024, U.S. Department of Justice started making preparations for an antitrust case against Apple, aiming at the company’s software and hardware limitations that potentially hinder competitive services. There’s been an “epic” fight between the video game store Epic Games and Apple for a while now regarding the App Store’s policies, which have been critiqued for favoring Apple’s services over those of competitors. However, the United States Supreme Court has already damaged the ability to stop Apple’s terrible practices tremendously .
Inf the DOJ goes through with its plans however, it could be a sign that the government is finally growing concerned about Apple’s dominance and its impact on market competition.
The Right to Repair and environmental accountability
As we’ve already seen, Apple has consistently put shareholder profits over the wellbeing of its customers and the planet. And this isn’t hyperbole: it’s a matter of current legal action.
After making surprising moves to support “right-to-repair” laws last year, Apple is now fighting the court of the people in Oregon, trying to stop a better right-to-repair bill from being established. Apple, naturally, is trying to position this as a “security” issue: “It is our belief that the bill’s current language around parts pairing will undermine the security, safety, and privacy of Oregonians by forcing device manufacturers to allow the use of parts of unknown origin in consumer devices.”
I don’t think we’re that easily fooled.
Apple’s resistance to the right-to-repair movement simply exemplifies that the company’s profit is tied up in tight control over its ecosystem. By lobbying against legislation that would allow users and third-party services to repair Apple products more easily, they ensure that they can continue to force their strategies of planned obsolesce on buyers.
Of course, in doing so the company not only limits consumer choice but also contributes to the growing problem of electronic waste.
Repairable and open-source antidotes
The antidote to Apple’s closed ecosystem rests in the open-source movement.
Open-source hardware and software champion transparency, user freedom, and innovation, standing in stark contrast to Apple’s proprietary approach.
By embracing open-source alternatives, individuals and communities can resist corporate monopolies, foster competition, and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable technological landscape.
The issues surrounding Apple’s practices—from privacy concerns to environmental accountability—show us a stark reality: the companies we’ve come to rely upon are, fundamentally, evil. At least Google was honest enough to be up front about it.
By advocating for open-source solutions and supporting policies that promote competition and sustainability, we can challenge the status quo and pave the way for a future where technology empowers, rather than limits. It’s time to demand more from the companies that shape our digital world, starting with a commitment to openness, transparency, and the greater good.
What can you do?
- Educate yourself about the benefits of open-source software and hardware.
- Support legislation and initiatives that promote the right to repair and environmental sustainability.
- Consider alternatives to Apple products that align with open-source principles and environmental responsibility.
Together, we can make a difference in the landscape of technology, pushing for a future where innovation thrives in an ecosystem defined by freedom, fairness, and respect for the planet.
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I write and research on my own time, between classes and work, because I love learning, love teaching, and believe that I have a responsibility to better myself and the rest of humanity. Your support helps me do this work. Please, consider becoming a monthly supporter on my Ko-Fi by clicking the following link.