What does it mean to have a ‘tin ear‘ or to be ‘tone deaf?’ I see two basic definitions. The first has to do with music; an inability to hear or appreciate musical rhythm, tones, melodies, et al.
The second is similar, but applies to an insensitivity to the nuances of a current situation; or indifference to various common attitudes, moods, or norms. So, I ask a question based on the latter definition. Does Facebook know what it’s doing?
Who spies on you more than Facebook? Google. No entity on planet earth extracts more personal information from unsuspecting users of free software and search options than Google. All that information is collected, sifted, filtered, and sold to advertisers so Google can stay rich. It works. Google is rich. But Google, despite it’s status as the world’s worst privacy offender, manages to say behind Facebook.
Facebook, like Google, is an advertising company that takes personal information from users– in exchange for eyeball time on its social media framework– and uses it to sell advertising. Facebook is a highly profitable company run by tone deaf executives.
Instead of toning down Facebook’s highly visible public image as a world class privacy offender, the company now wants you to put spy cameras in your home.
What could go wrong with a Facebook spy cam? A camera that follows you around your home. With a built-in microphone that can listen to your conversations.
What could go wrong, indeed.
Portal and Portal Plus are little more than a Trojan Horse designed to gather ever more information from you; as if you have anything left that Facebook and Google do not already know about. Trojan Horse? The Portals are video chat devices so you can keep in touch– face to face– with family and friends.
Think of it as a dedicated little box with always on FaceTime or Skype. Portals can do more, of course– including play music, stream videos, and even run Amazon Alexa, but obviously the devices are less useful than what you already use– iPhones and iPad; which do not spy on you but can do that whole face-to-face thing with ease.
The Portal Plus is an iPad-sized device. Both require power, so they are less mobile in the home than an iPad. The Plus is priced like an iPad at $349.
What do you get? Ostensibly, a quick and easy way to connect to family and friends, and an easy to use Amazon Echo-like device get information. You know. Like Siri does on iPhone and iPad.
What could go wrong?
It already has. First, Facebook’s executives are taking a chance that perhaps tens of millions of their users will pay money for the privilege of having themselves spied upon 24/7, 365. Second, Facebook’s hubris tells me that most people just don’t understand what Facebook does, how it does it, and what it means for loss of personal privacy.
Apple’s customers have been called sheeple by critics and technology writers, but it seems to me that Mac, iPhone, and iPad customers are savvier than the customer base Facebook has targeted with the Portal spy camera system.