Have you ever had one of those thoughts that ruminated around the back of your brain for a year or so? Then, you see the idea come to fruit somewhere else? I’ve had three such ideas that coalesced into a single mental entity over the past year.
Simply put, one can argue that Google, Facebook, and smartphones should be regulated (hence the Apple connection). Why? Privacy concerns. Health concerns. They are related. Here’s how.
First, Google and Facebook are privacy culprits– they steal information from their users (not customers; that’s how they vary from Android smartphone makers and Apple) and use it to manipulate those same users en masse.
Both companies, and others in the advertising and marketing industries, capture such data and use it against the very people who unwittingly give that information up in exchange for free applications, free internet searches, and free access to a social media network which encompasses the globe.
Unwittingly? Many users would be surprised how their data is used against them, and likely prefer options to reduce or eliminate such culling of personal information.
Second, and Apple falls into this same group, smartphone should be regulated because, 1) they can be used to collect information about users and that information can be used against the user (see above), and, 2) we do not know the long term mental, emotional, and physical effects of smartphone addiction. Based upon how many people I see hunched over their phones these days, it would seem that being a chiropractor would be a good profession.
Now, about the regulations– Google and Facebook need to have parameters to how much information can be collected, and users need to have much easier options to opt out completely. And, both entities and other online trackers, should not have the ability to track users from one website to another without the user fully knowing, fully understanding, and fully agreeing to the ramifications.
What about regulating smartphones?
This is a trickier issue because usage varies, but addiction to usage sure seems like a problem now, and a much more difficult problem to manage in the future.
I don’t have an answer for that but I can see already that the European Union leads on privacy controls, so it would not surprise me to see the EU take on the health issues, too. The free for all attitude in the U.S. means Apple’s home court is not likely to follow, but improvements in iOS to help us manage our addictions to handheld devices would be beneficial; as would better education on how to use such devices.
Of course, education about the ramifications of unprotected sex and the use of drugs has not done much to curtail societal problems, so this whole idea of regulation may have issues of its own.