Most of the products that Apple sells come with a camera and a microphone. Mac, iPhone, and iPad to start, yes, but there’s a microphone in Watch and Apple TV. If the government has access to our device’s cameras and microphones, doesn’t that make Apple a player as the premier purveyor of personal nanny cams? And if the government can intrude upon our privacy with ease, doesn’t that mean we live in a nanny state?
It’s a stretch, and a play on words, but I say yes.
Nanny state is a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice. The term “nanny state” likens government to the role that a nanny has in child rearing.
The term itself has a broadened definition which is owned by both liberals and conservatives.
Although the term is undefined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it has entered use in the United States over the past decade by some political commentators… Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research think tank used the term to describe conservative policies that protect the income of the rich… the term is also used in an at-large sense against the legislative tendencies of contemporary liberal political ideology, with examples such as progressive banishment of tobacco smoking and the enactment of mandatory bicycle helmet laws.
Where does Apple fit into the nanny state? We must view Apple as the premier purveyor of personal nanny cams and devices which the government can use to spy upon citizens, terrorists, criminals, government officials, and anyone deemed a potential enemy of the state.
Does that not make Apple a culpable player in legal paternalism?
Paternalism is behavior by an organization or state that limits some person or group’s liberty or autonomy for what is presumed to be that person’s or group’s own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior expresses an attitude of superiority
Is not Apple expressing an attitude of superiority by limiting what we can do with our Macs, iPhones, and iPads via the company’s so-called walled garden ecosystem? Yes.
If that’s the case, and I believe it is, should we ask Apple to provide us with more paternalism (less choice, but choices which are better for our privacy and security, and protect us from others), or reduce the paternalism and give us more choices and potentially less privacy and security?
In essence, Apple is a seller of nanny cams; devices which can be used to track our whereabouts, listen in or view our conversations and activities; devices which are increasingly under attack from government agencies, foreign entities, hackers, and criminals; some as members of the local nanny state, others as members of foreign nanny states where citizens have their activities tracked, viewed, and potentially curtailed if such actions are deemed inappropriate.
What do we want and need from Apple? More curation and tighter control over the entire device ecosystem? Or, less control and more options and freedoms on how our devices are used?