What lies beneath the tip of the iceberg? The iceberg. What little of sciences class I remember tells me that about 10-percent of the iceberg is visible, but the remaining 90-percent can be completely submerged; fully dangerous, of course, but not fully visible.
Think about what happened to the RMS Titanic more than 100 years ago. The tip of the iceberg didn’t cause the damage that sank the ship. For more than a year we’ve been reading about Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. election. At first, both Google and Facebook denied any involvement. Now we find out that Russians spent big money on ads, viral videos, and fake news that could have influenced many tens of millions of voters.
Donald Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by about 120,000 votes; the narrowest of margins that resulted in a big Electoral College win.
Those events tell me a few things about the tip of the iceberg. First, there is more to it than we can see. Second, first sightings don’t mean much. Third, it’s best to steer clear of icebergs.
From my perspective as a slightly paranoid technologist I see plenty of icebergs out there. Google. Facebook. U.S. Government agencies. Russians. Hackers and criminals. If my objective is smooth sailing then I want to avoid icebergs, which one can do by detecting and maneuvering around the tip of the iceberg.
From what I can tell, Apple is not part of the aforementioned icebergs. If anything, Apple goes out of its way to ensure our personal information, privacy, and security remain ours. The problem Apple has is the same as problems most of us face.
Apple allows us to make choices to use Google and Facebook and other search and social media applications, while knowing they cull the human race of information, and, indeed, make their fortunes based upon giving us something to use for free, while taking what seems unimportant to us and using it as their own personal piggy bank of profits.
For example, Apple allows the Facebook app and various Google apps to be made available to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. Apple’s executives know what Facebook and Google do to Apple’s customers but allow it to happen anyway.
You know. Personal choice.
Apple can be considered somewhat complicit here, especially with Google because the search engine giant pays Apple to remain in the default search engine position in Safari, the world’s second most used web browser.
From that perspective I do not consider Apple as part of the iceberg, not even the tip of the iceberg. Apple is something more akin to a floating beacon which can be used to navigate through the tips of the icebergs, even giving us tools to avoid most icebergs altogether, but not warning customers of all the dangers that lurk in the waters of a modern digital life.
Too many of Apple’s customers do not understand what lurks beneath the surface of digital waters because Apple could do more to warn and prevent our involvement with iceberg tips, just as Google, Facebook, and news media could do more to warn citizens of outside and inside influence upon a humanity that seems much unaware of what goes on within the digital ocean.