You’re in “Jeopardy,” but not the game show

CD Menard, News Writer

Americans have always taken their privacy very seriously.  It is a substantial principal of our democracy, evidenced even in our founding documents, protecting us from unreasonable search and seizure.  It has been made abundantly evident, that in the common era, big tech companies have been on the constant search of our personal data, regardless of the user’s reasonable right to privacy.  This has become even more clear in a recent development in the tech sector.  

The personal web history and IP address of millions of iOS users has been, and will be, sent to a Chinese controlled company with communist party ties and communist party agendas.

How can this happen?  Well, the answer is simple.  Apple has made a partnership with Tencent, a Chinese company with communist ties.  This company has gained notoriety for assisting the Chinese government in censoring the internet in order to assist in the arrest and imprisonment of users making controversial comments on its WeChat social messaging app.  Here’s how it happens: Apple sends web browser information, such as the websites one visits, to this Chinese company for a “safe browsing feature”, a feature intended to check for fraudulent websites. Notably, Apple has also been sending Safari data to Google for the same reason.  While Google has had frequent legal troubles over the abuse of its users’ privacy, it is certainly a much better alternative, as there is jurisdiction stipulating and governing legalities, adherence to the law, along with governance oversight. These checks and balances, which have their eye towards ethical business practices, are not present in the communist governance.  In communist society big brother is the state and whatever big brother wants, big brother gets. One may ask, “How did I not know about this?”. The answer is: you did, or at least legally you did. See, when you agreed to that 468 page document that one affirms one thoroughly read, a short reference was stuck in there. Consider yourself informed…. Apple most certainly considers you informed by the one liner they buried in there. 

The increasing news coverage surrounding the Chinese Communist Party hacking into American infrastructure, the Hong Kong protests, and the attempts to control free speech outside of this country’s borders has generated significant concern regarding Apple’s new policy of handing U.S. citizens’ Safari web data over to China.

With Apple claiming to invest in its users privacy, why would Apple pull such a stunt?  This author speculates that it may have much to do with Apple’s current push to make iPhones become a more popular buyer’s choice in mainland China.  The ethics (or lack of them) involved here, however, are squeamish at best. Apple’s desire to grab a bigger portion of the Chinese consumer market most certainly does not justify their actions of providing millions of people’s personal information to anyone, much less to a Communist Chinese company and thereby also to the Chinese communist government; a government which has notoriously exhibited unscrupulous victimization regarding individual’s personal information.  At this point, one thing has become abundantly clear; regulators need to step in and attend to at least a couple of immediate problems: first, the problems inherent in these huge hundreds page long contracts including what’s contained in the fine print, and second, a company’s duty to protect their user’s privacy.