How the “internet of things” robs us of our rights


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Link here. Key quote:

One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside. The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It’s as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.

This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don’t really own their tractors but just license the software – so they can’t fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop. The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.

How long will it be before we realize they’re trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?

This is once again why, when I buy something, I try to find the stupidest version I can. It is why I don’t use a smart phone, since all the companies that work with them do not respect my privacy. It is why I avoid Google and Facebook, for the same reasons. In every case, there is an immoral component to the actions of these companies, and it is the personal responsibility of each individual to not participate in or endorse such behavior.

Share

20 comments

  • wayne

    My electric utility is pushing heavy for me to install a device on my A/C coil, for which they offer block & time-of-day billing, but they get to turn off my A/C whenever they want.
    My auto-insurance conglomerate is pushing heavy for me to install a mini “flight recorder” device in my car, for a lousy 10% discount.
    Way too intrusive for me. But I suspect they’ll eventually make it mandatory. (especially with all the auto deaths caused by global climate change. If we could only save one child, it would all be worth it.)

    I don’t want to go all tangential on cars and the IOT, but for a amazingly Fascistic vision of the future with driverless cars: (It sorta looks Fun, but Big Brother is definitely driving your car for you.)
    ‘Key to the Future”
    GM Motorama Exhibit 1956
    https://youtu.be/Rx6keHpeYak
    8:44

  • Phill O

    Things are worse than you think, and I can agree with Bob’s dislikes of google and Facebook.

    I just got back from visiting the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller Alberta. They have updated things and displays. To my dismay, the government now owns all fossils even on your own land and if they are found on your land, you must have the RTMP people remove them with your help for nothing! Like the legislation that removes your land from agriculture if an endangered species is found on it, what do you think this new legislation’s unintended consequences will be.

    As to government making things the law, I advise everyone to watch “Conspiracy” staring Kenneth Branagh. This not only applies to government, but companies which use government to create laws which are amoral and infringe on private rights. The USA has enough loose canons but they will be outlawed soon. Somehow, there will be laws passed like the anti-bulling laws in Canada which really serve another purpose.

  • Phill O: What the law on fossils does is cause all landowners to keep any fossil discoveries on their land secret, even as they instantly destroy any fossils they find. This of course is completely counter to the law’s good intentions, but then, we all know where good intentions take us.

  • Cotour

    Phill O: You are treading on dangerous ground here with your assertions about “Conspiracies” and government or corporate involvement in such. Although your story demonstrates it perfectly, where is the ultimate line of Amoral behavior drawn? And who draws it?

    On this subject: I had dinner this evening with someone who operates in the non profit world in NYC. She used to be able to contract directly with the city. Contracts for educational / art programs “for the kids”. During the Bloomberg reign the model was changed, now huge corporations are created to receive these grants and they now contract with these smaller operations who they use as a front because they actually have the credentials and the big corps do not. (they don’t do the work, they just get to handle the money).

    All that was done was created another level of bureaucracy who now receive the cash for the programs, they nickle and dime and not pay the credentialed providers and they also have a nice pile of the peoples money to donate to the proper campaigns. Now thats progress.

    It can only end in a bad way, think California.

  • Peter Arzenshek

    Oh yes .. I stick to my old, mil-spec, can’t-drop-it-too-hard, dumb flip-phone. I have an Ipod (6) only because my Ipod Classic has moving parts that will die. No voice-mail either; when the flip-phone is on, I am available, if not call me tomorrow.

  • Phill O

    “Cotour
    September 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Phill O: You are treading on dangerous ground here with your assertions about “Conspiracies” and government or corporate involvement in such. ”

    The movie Conspiracy documents what actually happened. I have been in government long enough to relate to the tactics used in the Wannsee Conference played by Kenneth Branagh . I think this was the most compelling perfornce he ever gave. His playing of Gilderoy Lockhart maybe his second best performance.

    ” Robert Zimmerman
    September 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Phill O: What the law on fossils does is cause all landowners to keep any fossil discoveries on their land secret”

    Absolutely!

  • Cotour

    Phill O:

    What in your opinion will government (Any government) NOT do in pursuit of their stated and unstated goals?

    Where is the line and who draws it? If the government can adopt an attitude that THEY indeed own everything and you / we just basically rent it from them, how far will government go it make that so in you opinion? And to follow up that question: How far would an essentially corrupt government go in drawing that line?

    And keep in mind, my definition of government or the nature of government (Any government) is that from the moment government exists, from its inception, all it can be is corrupt, the only question is how corrupt, to what degree. It is the nature of the beast.

    Would you, a former government insider, agree with that statement / definition?

  • Phill O

    I found a way out of government: I worked for myself so to speak. Made 3 X money and worked 1/2 year and enjoyed my time.

    How far will a government go? Well, the movie Conspiracy with Kenneth Branagh , showed (a true story) that it will make laws where the final solution is the extermination of millions of people based solely on race.

    All left wing governments push the corruption farther and faster. Consider Hillary and Bill and Obama. In Canada eh, the Trudeaus along with Mulroney push the corruption big time.

    The left right now with all the subversive action- the end result would be Venezuela.

  • Cotour

    Talking about conspiracy, look what I found. I knew it!

    “http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/07/hillary-clinton-book-tour-democrats-242419”

    “”Her book and her tour is not just important for history, it’s so important for now,” said longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser Robert Zimmerman,”

    :)

  • Cotour

    Phill O:

    So if I am interpreting you properly, in your informed opinion, government (Any government) is capable through its natural condition which is to be corrupt, to go to any length including murder to fulfill its perceived necessary agenda.

    Please refine or correct my interpretation if you feel I have gone too far. Thank you.

  • Phill O

    ” Cotour
    September 7, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Phill O:

    So if I am interpreting you properly, in your informed opinion, government (Any government) is capable through its natural condition which is to be corrupt, to go to any length including murder to fulfill its perceived necessary agenda.

    Please refine or correct my interpretation if you feel I have gone too far. Thank you.”

    Seems history would support your comment! This end result is where the liberals in the world are leading us. The wall is down but the battle is not over between socialism and capitalism. Socialism starts by proposing what is reasonable but never reaches that goal but goes in the opposite direction – according to history!!!!!!!

    At some point in my life I woke up and changed sides. When I did, my lot in life got better.

  • Phill O

    “”Her book and her tour is not just important for history, it’s so important for now,” said longtime Clinton friend and fundraiser Robert Zimmerman,”

    Doing an internet search showed many different Robert Zimmermans. There can only be one RZ Behind The Black!

    Interesting that Trump may be the only one excited about Hillary’s book and tour. While the Dems seem not to like the 2016 loss being regurgitated, there will be some that eat it up as the gospel truth.

  • Cotour

    Phill O:

    So if I understand, what you are saying is through evidence or actual history in your opinion you agree with my contention. Some people refuse to recognize actual evidence, I think that is called “Normalcy bias”. Human nature where individuals are unable to “see” or understand what is plain because it is beyond their ability to explain or reconcile it with their reality model.

    I make no distinction between Left and Right in government and their potential to 1. Be Amoral and 2. To be corrupt and abuse their power. Anything can be justified by leadership if it is determined to be essential to an established and rationalized essential agenda. ANYTHING.

    Government, the entity government which is populated by human beings, is by definition Amoral, it is an agree upon convention and a concept so IT can not have morality. Your points about the Left are without doubt accurate, the end results of their flavor of philosophy is slavery and total state control and destruction. But again, I make no distinction between the Left and the Right, why? Because they are populated with human beings and there can only be one result from the exercise of power by human beings, abuse and corruption. Abuse and corruption that has no bounds if it can be justified in some manner related to essential survival.

  • The Robert Zimmerman referenced in this article has been a long time Democratic operative, who appears on tv and radio to push their agenda. He is definitely a different person from the person (me) who runs BtB, though there have been some funny moments when tv networks have contacted me when they want him.

  • Cotour

    Oh, I look forward to the Hillary book tour. I hear you have to pay to attend, what I have been hearing is $100 to get in and $2400 to have a short audience with her and a signed book. If true what does she think will come of such Clintonian efforts? It can only be excellent entertainment.

    And all this before her IMO required reconciliation with the laws of the United States of America that she has sooo blatantly broken. Her, Comey, Lynch and all that surrounded her must be reconciled with the law.

    Could she be attempting to prolong her relevance in the political realm to run out any statues of limitations? Do not be surprised if that is how this all lays out to the convenience to the Congress and their not having to deal with it. But that will only go so far.

  • Ted

    I want a flip phone like Gibbs on NCIS. Smart phones are nice, but just a good old flipper for most situations.

  • Phill O

    Cotour, Hillary’s aim is to fill her own bank account; now, even at the expense of the DNC.

    The one thing about Trump (and I thought so before the election) he will play to the tune of those who put him there – well, more than say those in Congress. This is being born out by how well congress has supported his initiatives – which bears credence to your argument about the left and right (politicians).

  • Mike Buford

    I’m adding Paypal to the Google list. haven’t figured if I’ll leave FB. Though they did delete a thread I started. Stupid.

  • Edward

    My bank is required to send me privacy notices every year, but my cell phone software “owner” is not. Speaking of cell phones, my “dumb phone” has twice changed behaviors on me; clearly the software “owner” has updated the software in ways that I have not authorized. Indeed, had I known that it would dump all my saved phone numbers, I would never have authorized such a malicious update.

    It may be that the companies own the intellectual property of the software, in the same way that when I buy a book the author retains the IP of the text he wrote, but when I purchase a device expecting a certain behavior or certain features, it is disadvantageous for the company to willy nilly change those behaviors or features. I want to have the control over these aspects of my property.

    For them to willy nilly share my private information without my permission or knowledge is just as evil as when the banks did it.

    If they keep it up, I may become an open source fan.

  • Laurie

    It’s not just about information. You won’t own anything – all will be state owned. And when everything is “given” to you, you have no right to demand better – or anything else for that matter.

    This, ultimately, is the point of globalism: to control everything. I know, let’s connect everything to the internet, that will be so amazing. My person will be connected too, through RFID – and my pets.

    I’m sure it’s progress for someone, somewhere – to be “things of the internet.”

    For those orchestrating this madness, the mantra will be something like, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

    Strange fiction, this (virtualized) reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *