That’s right. The internet has classes of privileged and underprivileged users, and it’s possible if not likely that you’re already a second class ‘netizen and may not even know it. It’s nothing more than the 21st century version of the Golden Rule. Those with the gold, get to rule.
Snoops, Bandwidth, Malware, Oh My!
Here’s how it works, starting with those who are officially sanctioned, licensed, and allowed to snoop through your private information.
In the good old U.S. of A. we’re having a debate about how much snooping into private communications should be allowed, but the government has been doing and continues to do it.
Why? Because the government wants to protect us by monitoring everything we do. How? Because our computers, telephones, and the grid give them ample opportunity. Those with the means to prey upon us are in one class of citizenry, and we are in the other. But no one answers the question, “Who monitors the monitors?”
Second, there’s the connection that most of us have that links our devices to the internet. Not only is that connection under assault from the snoops and spooks, so-called net neutrality– equal access to the internet, as if it was a public utility– has enemies in the very companies that provide us with those connections in the first place.
In the U.S., if AT&T and Verizon are against something, you can be sure that whatever they’re against is better for them than it is for us. That makes their customers members of a second class of internet citizens, or ‘netizen. In other words, those with the gold get better bandwidth and security than those with less gold.
Finally, there’s malware and security issues at the common people level. Lenovo is experiencing the worst kind of public relations thanks to their Superfish malware fiasco which exposed countless second class computer users to a variety of security problems. Lenovo installed their crapware on the lowest of low priced computers but not on the more expensive ThinkPad line aimed at the corporate user. In other words, Superfish crapware is acceptable for second class citizens, not first class citizens.
Where does Apple stand against the snoops and spooks, the limited number of wealthy bandwidth owners, and the growing list of malware miscreants?
Though iOS and OS X remain the most secure of major operating systems, many popular Apple apps have end-to-end encryption to secure communications, and Apple’s customers have less malware to worry about, Apple isn’t doing enough to ensure that customers can avoid being relegated to second class ‘netizen status, and whether that amounts to public posturing against government interference, or completely securing devices and applications from outside tracking, or simply investing in internet access options that compete with the status quo ISPs, Apple can, should, and can afford to do much more.