[personal profile] omnifarious

Today, a comment I got really rankled me. My affection and desire for technologies that are not freedom hostile was called a 'religious issue'. This trivializes my desire, and makes it seem like someone has to 'drink the kool-aid' to think the issue is real. And that's insulting.

I find this particularly upsetting given how many people rallied to defeat SOPA. Do people not understand the end goal here? Do you really want your technologies to decide for you which websites you're allowed to see, what you can read, what you can hear? Because ignoring freedom when making technology choices is marching down that very road.

Oh, those companies, they'll never do that. But, they will. Maybe they don't even realize they will. But that kind of lockdown and control is so very economically attractive that companies will march there inexorably unless it's clear that's not a direction we want to go in.

And your choices affect me. Whenever you make a choice against freedom, you're affecting my ability to make that choice. It is possible to make technology that works and is convenient, but doesn't rob you of your freedom. But every time you vote with your dollars against such technology, every time you decide this feature or that feature is worth giving up some of your freedom, you're encouraging companies to dangle shiny toys in exchange for your freedom. In fact, you're encouraging them to only provide the shiny toys if you (and I) give up our freedom to get them. It's like giving in to a toddler who throws tantrums.

I recognize that different people make different choices for their own reasons. And I'm fine with them making those choices. But I will not pass up any opportunity to inform them of the effect of their choice on themselves, and on me.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkpld_huLRpHwE-VjUpEK0T383iayd6ZtI
Sorry, I didn't mean to offend...

I live in Seattle and have been part of the tech community for decades, and so I've heard it all before, back when it was Amiga vs. PC. By religious, I mean Person A asks an opinion or states a technical problem, and Brand Politics ensue. I've seen it so many times that I knew it would happen again.

I understand the reasons to chose Google over Apple, and in fact rushed to buy Android as soon as it was as good as the iPhone. But not before.

When it comes down to it, people need to use the tools they need to use. Freedom is a weird word and means lots of things -- to me, it means a lot of things. It means as much to have a stable, working product that I will use because it's not broken, as much as it means "the ability for coders to upload any app" or the "ability for Foxcom employees to have decent hours and wages" or the "freedom from government regulation to buy whatever product I want" or "freedom to not have my life data-mined", or any number of other measures.

I definitely understand all the issues Apple presents. Any geek who has lived in Seattle for five seconds understands them. But I see those "Freedoms" as trade-offs. I don't like a lot of Apple's policies, but you know what? I also don't like a lot of Google's policies (and Google is getting worse and they will continue to get worse). The trade-off with Apple is that many of their restrictive policies lead to damn-fine products.

I currently do not own a single Apple product, but likely I will soon own an iPad. R. asked a question based on her technical needs, and I personally cringe whenever those questions get answered by philosophy. It's still a free country, and you can preach about how evil Apple is all you want. Just remember, Google is just as evil (or will be), and if I made tech choices on who offered the greatest freedoms and respected privacy and politically aligned with all my personal philosophies on life, I'd be making tablets of my own from bark off the trees in my backyard. (I hate hate hate that even my Android phone was built on the backs of slave labor, that it is a far less secure device than an iPhone, and that Amazon Market (also evil) is the only safe and easy way to get Android Apps. I also publish my books via Amazon, which is edging towards a monopoly and doing lots of unfair things, but it is THE only way to sell any quantity of ebooks right now.)

Every decision is about trade-offs. Ignoring that is religion.

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November 2012

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