Chekhov exhorted writers not to put a gun onstage unless a character is going to fire it. But this advice has a corollary for audiences: "If there's a pistol on the mantelpiece in Act I, it'll go off by Act III."

If only Apple had paid attention.

Apple wasn't the first company to use DRM to prevent users from installing software on devices without its approval (game consoles did this for years), but it WAS the first company to popularize the model for general purpose devices.


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Ten years ago, I predicted that once Apple gave itself the power to decide which software you were allowed to use, governments would start ordering it to prevent you from using software they didn't like.


3 years ago, Apple kicked working VPNs out of the Chinese App Store, so that the Chinese state - which was in the midst of rounding up ONE MILLION Uyghurs and putting them in concentration camps - could spy on its population more effectively


Now, Apple's purged its Chinese App Store of RSS readers, which allow Apple customers in China to evade state censorship and surveillance, which have been used in lethal ways, including targeting dissidents for organ-harvesting.


This is a really stark example of the failure of the "feudal security" model we have evolved as states have both failed to create protections for users (e.g. a US federal privacy law with a private right of action) and to prevent monopolization of tech.

Deprived of the legal tools to defend ourselves with, we are forced to seek protection from feudal seigneurs (e.g. tech companies) and hope that their business interests align with our human rights interests.


So you can use Chrome, which is about to start blocking third-party cookies, meaning that other people can't track you - but Google can. Google doesn't want to protect your privacy - it wants to get a piece of the action.

Google will use this power to incidentally protect your privacy by blocking some of the worst online surveillance, but if you're worried about Google itself (or one of its trusted parties) abusing your data, Chrome won't help you.


Likewise, Apple makes a big (and deserved) deal out of its privacy orientation, but that privacy is in service to a marketing message: "Apple is the pro-privacy alternative." Apple cares about selling devices, and privacy is a means to that end.

Apple's decision to both manufacture and sell devices in China, combined with its power to choose which apps you can use, all but guaranteed that it would be deputized to aid in mass roundups for concentration camps and organ harvesting.


Meanwhile, the policies that Apple relies on to prevent companies creating third-party app stores - policies like DMCA 1201, the copyright law that bans breaking Apple DRM - are defended by an infinite warchest funded by all the tech giants, who all rely on it.


The feudal lords of the internet secure us against the lawless bandits that roam outside of their castle walls. But they don't love us. They don't want us to be safe. They want to make money. If they can get richer by sacrificing our safety, they'll do it in a heartbeat.


@pluralistic cory! TRUTH! speak oh fair speaker, these great truths, to power, to us all.


> prevent monopolization of tech

> forced to seek protection from feudal seigneurs

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