IBM has recently outlawed the use of Siri in their facilities. When I heard this news it immediately struck me as odd and as a sign of our time.
Who would have thought a decade ago, even three years ago, that a network would be banning a specific app or software from functioning within a facility? Well, maybe you could have predicted something along these lines, but the oddity is that this ultimate access to information is always pinned under some overlord style of control.
Banning Siri brought up two issues with me, and struck a bit of a nerve.
First, who does Siri think she is ─ giving all of my info up to Apple for future development? The truth is that, anything you say to Siri is stored in a black box, of sorts, somewhere in the catacombs of Apple. What does Apple do with this information? None of your business, apparently. According to the user agreement that most of us quickly click through, “By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.”
Can you smell judgment day around the corner? Its name isn’t HAL, her name is Siri. All joking aside, the problem is Apple is snagging and storing information for whatever use they seem fit. Granted, companies have been doing things like this for years, but the info from an electronic personal assistant could be quite personal and, in some circumstances, dangerous.
Hypothetically, if President Obama owned an iPhone and just happened to not read the user agreement (come on, nobody really reads it), our national security could be stored in a corporate server for anybody to see, or nobody to see, pending Apple’s discretion. Therein lies the problem. I would hope our national security would be tighter than this, but giving any corporation that kind of data is dangerous, no matter how green or wholesome said corporation may be.
This brings me to the other issue, IBM banning Siri.
So, a company like IBM can prioritize a specific app or operating system, or deny access to other ones? The world of wireless is an amazing achievement, but as corporations realize our hunger for this technology, they also recognize another dollar sign floating in the world of Wi-Fi.
What is to stop AT&T from buying specific buildings, or even towns, in a market and denying access to Verizon customers? Or, Apple purchasing the ‘Internet space’ around Madison Square Garden so Android phones simply don’t work there? It might seem a bit far-fetched at first, but this is an approaching reality if companies are allowed to go all business on the world’s networks.
Networks, wireless or not, should be free. It may sound a tad socialist or even utopian, but freedom to use our devices and the Internet anywhere should be an emerging right. I’m not an IT expert, so I can’t comprehend the immense amount of technology that might be required to establish something of this sort, but the need is apparent.
What’s your take? Email email@example.com or comment below.