Trust is like the stock market. Escalator up, elevator down. When an individual places trust in something they typically do so because that trust has been won through unwavering commitment over time. When we speak of brand trust – or trust with a company – committed relationships work much the same. Especially as that trust applies to technology in an era of cloud.
But here's the thing about trust. If it's not built with transparency, it is created under false pretenses – smoke and mirrors – and, in the long-term, will never stand. This is the unfortunate case with Apple. And here I will explain exactly when I stopped trusting them and why, and what I'm doing about it.
Finding the elevator door
It was the FSF that began to open my eyes. Last year while researching free software licenses for After Dark I found they'd been keeping track of Apple's back doors, censorship, security flaps, sabotage, surveillance and more.
Disheartened with what I learned from the FSF I started second-guessing Apple's commitment to user privacy. My trust in their products quickly began to erode.
Stepping into the elevator
Growing up I learned to “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half of that you see.” This advice has served me well over the years, giving me a better ability to intuit and read between the lines while absorbing information.
Despite Apple joining NSA PRISM program as reported by the Guardian several months after Steve Jobs died I gave them the benefit of the doubt until I watched Cook's 2018 VICE News Tonight Interview with Elle Reeve. When questioned regarding Apple's user privacy Tim brings up Apple's encryption and, pointing towards himself, said, “I can't produce the content [in China]; I can't produce it in the United States either.”
I believe he was telling the truth. And that's what troubles me. True leaders don't speak in the first person. Tim indirectly confirms all Apple user data is accessible. And you don't need empirical evidence from The Guardian to draw the same conclusion. Just watch the interview.
This is when I stopped trusting Apple.
Pressing the down button
I purchased a MacBook Pro a couple years ago because I knew from years of use on business loaners they were great machines. I'm actually writing this post on a MacBook Pro. But it's being written using Linux. Because Apple couldn't protect me from exploits they already had patches for, leaving me vulnerable for weeks.
And with Apple's super-closed system and the mere presence of state-required surveillance backdoors, I realize this kind of occurrence will only grow in frequency as “foreign adversaries” begin dominating the tech market. *Cough* Huawei *Cough*. This experience was enough to cause me to bail on Apple entirely, giving up Mojave using a dual-boot configuration with Manjaro Linux.
Exiting the elevator
There's some value to keeping Apple around, but certainly not as a daily user. Perhaps to access iMovie to edit videos or maybe to see what's new in Safari. But other than that, I'm ready to give up my MacBook and Apple TV (it doesn't work correctly in Indonesia anyway) and close my Apple account.
Thanks for the time we shared Apple. Together I learned you produced decent hardware for a time but – as an owner of a P20 Pro now P30 Pro following the iPhone X – am confident you will be no match for Huawei over the next decade, even with a protectionist trade ban under the guise of “national security”.
Nothing personal. Sorry. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
P.s. If you have an Apple Music account note Apple may delete your iTunes metadata on your local device. No kidding. How's that for instilling trust?