Tag Archives: Apple

On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez, by Matt Taibbi

One guy makes some statements that might arguably be construed as misogynistic, the other sings songs that leave no doubt about their misogyny. Which guy gets fired and which guy has a seat on the Apple board? From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

Much easier to ruin a career than mess with a corporate cash cow

I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem.

Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance. A onetime high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler:

Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo.

When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio’s third career at least — he’d also worked at Goldman, Sachs — and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined — you’re usually reading a résumé, not a book.

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Parler Just Flipped Big Tech’s Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory on Its Head, by Tyler O’Neil

Parler wasn’t upended because of what was on the site or any laxity in keeping advocacy of violence off of it. Rather, it’s been a target of a big tech conspiracy because it’s a platform for conservatives. From Tyler O’Neil at pjmedia.com:

(Parler screenshot)

In the days after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, Big Tech moved against a conservative alternative social media platform, Parler, based on the premise that the rioters has used Parler to plan the attack on the Capitol and that Parler had failed in its responsibility to prevent such coordination. Based on this narrative, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon removed Parler’s internet hosting. Yet on Thursday, Parler flipped the narrative on its head.

On Thursday, Parler sent a response to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s request for documents regarding the riot, the company explained in a press release. In that response, Parler revealed that it had “proactively developed an open line of communication with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the fall of 2020 and referred violent content and incitement from Parler’s platform over 50 times before January 6th. Parler also warned the FBI about specific threats of violence being planned for the events at the Capitol on January 6th.”

The letter details Parler’s efforts “to flag and remove unlawful speech from its platform that was not protected by the First Amendment.” It also notes that of the 270 charging documents filed by the Department of Justice, 80 percent of social media references involved Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “Only 5% referred to Parler.”

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How Silicon Valley, in a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler, by Glenn Greenwald

Silicon Valley is ready, willing, and able to ban anyone who poses a competitive threat to statist ideology in the marketplace of ideas. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

In the last three months, tech giants have censored political speech and journalism to manipulate U.S. politics, while liberals, with virtual unanimity, have cheered.

Users of the social media platform Parler encountered this error message as of Jan. 11, 2021, after Apple, Google and Amazon united to remove them from app stores and hosting services (Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images).

Critics of Silicon Valley censorship for years heard the same refrain: tech platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter are private corporations and can host or ban whoever they want. If you don’t like what they are doing, the solution is not to complain or to regulate them. Instead, go create your own social media platform that operates the way you think it should.

The founders of Parler heard that suggestion and tried. In August, 2018, they created a social media platform similar to Twitter but which promised far greater privacy protections, including a refusal to aggregate user data in order to monetize them to advertisers or algorithmically evaluate their interests in order to promote content or products to them. They also promised far greater free speech rights, rejecting the increasingly repressive content policing of Silicon Valley giants.

Over the last year, Parler encountered immense success. Millions of people who objected to increasing repression of speech on the largest platforms or who had themselves been banned signed up for the new social media company.

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How To Check If Your iPhone Is Secretly A Coronavirus Tracker, by Tyler Durden

Fortunately you can turn it off…for now. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

If you downloaded the latest iOS update back in May, and any following updates, then congratulations…your COVID-19 infection status will likely soon be tracked by state health officials as part of each state’s contact tracing efforts.

Many iPhone users across the US have over the past few days started to notice a new setting under the “privacy” subtab of the iPhone health app. It looks like this, and allows users to “toggle on” COVID-19 exposure logging.

It’s all thanks to the latest update of Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhone, iOS13.5.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Police Use Contact Tracing And Big Tech To Identify Protesters, by mapi

The surveillance state never lets a good crisis go to waste, it always expands its power. From mapi at massprivatei.blogspot.com:

Countless warnings about how law enforcement could use contact-tracing apps to monitor people have gone unheeded.

As BGR.com revealed police are using contact tracing to identify protester’s affiliations.

“According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harringon, officials there have been using what they describe, without going into much detail, as contact-tracing in order to build out a picture of protestor affiliations — a process that officials in the state say has led them to conclude that much of the protest activity there is being fueled by people from outside coming in.”

A Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing” revealed how police are using contact tracing to identify and arrest protesters. “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they’ve begun contact tracing arrestees.” 

Recently, 100 human rights groups warned that an Apple-Google contact tracing app could be used as a cover to identify activists and minorities.

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In Apple Case, Feds Green-Light Corporate Discrimination Against Conservatives, by Justin Danhof

Silicon Valley cherishes all diversity except diversity of thought and opinion. From Joseph Danhof at thefederalist.com:

It’s time for Congress to take notice of the role the SEC plays in shaping corporate proxy ballots — and how that process is empowering corporate America’s march to the left.

It’s 2020, and the federal government just sanctioned corporate blacklisting of employees and potential hires based on political affiliation.

You could be forgiven for thinking I am describing 20th-century McCarthyism, or 17th-century witch trials, or even a twist on a George Orwell novel. But sadly, no. It’s 2020, and it appears much of our government’s historically backward thinking remains.

A few months ago, we at the Free Enterprise Project filed a shareholder resolution with Apple. Our proposal sought to have the Silicon Valley mainstay amend its equal employment opportunity policy to protect individuals from viewpoint discrimination. We thought it a simple request.

After all, Apple — as with most major American corporations — already has protections based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Some companies, such as Walmart and Coca-Cola, already protect viewpoint diversity by explicitly safeguarding employees from retribution for private political activities. Not Apple. Upon our request for Apple to implement similar policies, its lawyers recoiled with vigor.

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Our “Come to Mao” Reckoning and the Next Cultural Revolution, by Charles Hugh Smith

The Chinese elite are placing personal profit over public health, and don’t think that average Chinese aren’t aware of it. Someday they may do something about it. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Only fools are blind to the potential for this uprising to extend to Apple and the rest of Corporate America’s greedy exploiters who’ve been delighted to profit from the protection of the CCP.

Let’s start our “Come to Mao” reckoning with the obvious:

To the U.S. stock market:

The coronavirus ravaging China doesn’t matter.

China doesn’t matter.

1,500 deaths don’t matter, 5,000 deaths don’t matter, 50,000 deaths don’t matter, 500,000 deaths don’t matter.

10,000 coronavirus cases don’t matter,100,000 cases don’t matter, 1,000,000 cases don’t matter.

All that matters is that exploited Chinese workers get back to assembling iPhones for Apple and all the landfill economy stuff that generates billions in profits for Amazon and the rest of Corporate America.

Nothing else matters. Even coronavirus cases and deaths outside China don’t matter. All that matters is that Apple and the rest of Corporate America continue reaping billions in profits off exploited workforces.

Like every other venal, exploitive Empire in history, Apple relies on rapacious, ruthless local elites to enforce its exploitation–in this case, Foxconn and the Communist Party elites who’ve gorged at the Apple/Foxconn trough. Thus Apple claims that when Foxconn re-opens production is up to Foxconn while Apple execs hound Foxconn to start production no matter how many workers might become ill and die.

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Apple Suspends Program That Records Users Having Sex And Buying Drugs, by Tyler Durden

Apple must have caught a lot of flack when news came out that their phones were recording and transmitting sexual liaisons and other intimate details of some users’ lives to Apple employees. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Last week, we reported a shocking revelation about Apple’s friendly personal assistant tool for mass surveillance Siri: The app “regularly” records people having sex, discussing private medical information, participating in drug deals and other “countless” invasive moments which it promptly sends to Apple contractors for their listening pleasure – all for the sake of “quality control”.

Now, in the face of the latest privacy scandal to rock one of the major American tech giants, Apple has reportedly decided to suspend its global internal program for “grading” users’ Siri commands following the public backlash over the Guardian’s revelations, which came courtesy of a whistleblower.

Previously, Apple contractors listened to less than 1% of Siri commands as part of the program, which was intended to improve the quality and accuracy of the voice-based digital assistant. Yet, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide, the Cupertino-based consumer tech giant was effectively monitoring a huge chunk of the American population without their explicit knowledge.

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Siri “Regularly” Listens In On Your Sexual Encounters, Apple Insists “Only For A Few Seconds”, by Tyler Durden

Siri is neither as nice as she sounds nor as discreet as advertised. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Should it come as any surprise? And yet the details are shocking and outrageous. A whistleblower working for Apple has revealed to The Guardian that its popular voice activated spying device helpful virtual assistant Siri, now in millions of households, “regularly” records people having sex, and captures other “countless” invasive moments which it promptly sends to Apple contractors for their listening pleasure “quality control”:

Apple contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or “grading”, the company’s Siri voice assistant, the Guardian has learned.

We’ve long pointed out that according to Amazon’s Alexa terms of use, the company collects and stores most of what you say to Alexa (or perhaps what you groan) – including the geolocation of the product along with your voice instructions.

However, what’s not disclosed or at least not well known up to this point is that a “small proportion” of all Siri recordings of what consumers thought were private settings are actually forwarded to Apple contractors around the world, according to the new report. Supposedly this is to ensure Siri is responding properly and can continue to distinguish dictation. Apple says, according to The Guardian, the data “is used to help Siri and dictation… understand you better and recognise what you say”.

 

Vicious Cycle: The Pentagon Creates Tech Giants and Then Buys their Services, by T.J. Coles

How the military-industrial-intelligence complex works. From T.J. Coles at counterpunch.org:

Photograph Source: DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force – Public Domain

The US Department of Defense’s bloated budget, along with CIA venture capital, helped to create tech giants, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and PayPal. The government then contracts those companies to help its military and intelligence operations. In doing so, it makes the tech giants even bigger.

In recent years, the traditional banking, energy and industrial Fortune 500 companies have been losing ground to tech giants like Apple and Facebook. But the technology on which they rely emerged from the taxpayer-funded research and development of bygone decades. The internet started as ARPANET, an invention of Honeywell-Raytheon working under a Department of Defense (DoD) contract. The same satellites that enable modern internet communications also enable US jets to bomb their enemies, as does the GPS that enables online retailers to deliver products with pinpoint accuracy. Apple’s touchscreen technology originated as a US Air Force tool. The same drones that record breath-taking video are modified versions of Reapers and Predators.

Tax-funded DoD research is the backbone of the modern, hi-tech economy. But these technologies are dual-use. The companies that many of us take for granted–including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and PayPal–are connected indirectly and sometimes very directly to the US military-intelligence complex.

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