node created 2012/06/25
 1 y ago

The ‘internet of things’ is sending us back to the Middle Ages

One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside. The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It’s as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.

This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don’t really own their tractors but just license the software – so they can’t fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop. The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.

How long will it be before we realize they’re trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?
Tagsinternet
 6 y ago
There was a time, in the not-too distant past, when the Internet was mostly about sharing educational information.

Sadly, the Internet is now full of companies who want to use it as a vehicle for advertising and who are obsessed with building up a dossier on as many people as possible, to exploit for financial gain. Your privacy means nothing to these companies; they will collect as much information about you as possible, with no regard for your wishes.

I take active countermeasures against these hostiles. I browse with javascript disabled. I don't have flash installed. I don't accept cookies blindly. I adjust my user agent. I run my own DNS server and cache and have hundreds of sites blackholed, including facebook, google analytics, and all the major ad servers.

It's some trouble to set all this up, and inconvenient at times. But unfortunately it's a jungle out there, and the default setup of browsers leaves you like a naked person in a mosquito-infested swamp.