The Elephant in the Room

Why this week has been difficult for "Apple Enthusiasts" and tech fans

I wanted to kick this week off with something light and fun, but if we are being honest here—I like to think this is a safe space—this week has been a lot to handle as an “Apple enthusiast.”

I have been reading so many different news stories, opinion articles, and comments about the recent announcement from Apple regarding the future scanning of iCloud Photos. I don’t want to explain the details about what is happening, you can find more about the announcement explained by The Verge or this more detailed FAQ from TidBits.

I will say here that this isn’t Apple getting unfettered access to your entire iCloud Photo library, they are specifically looking for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) that matches a hash in a database of known CSAM. That said, there are several people and organizations sharing concerns regarding loss of privacy to users, possible political exploitation, and overall creepiness that Apple can now have backdoor access your photos in iCloud. There are arguments saying this is a slippery-slope for Apple, others say that it is only a matter of time before it affects other types of content.

I am not here to add to the pile of people looking to share their opinion on this matter. I am not an expert in privacy, CSAM, or the legality of photos in the cloud. There have been great arguments that I will encourage people to read. The first being John Gruber’s take on Daring Fireball, second is an open letter to Apple signed by over 5,000 people including Edward Snowden, and finally Casey Newton’s article from Platformer. All of these have great explanations for their arguments and they fall on different spots of the spectrum as far as their privacy concerns.

The main point I want to make here is that Apple is a big tech company, and the changes they make aren’t always going to be fun or simple to talk about.

The reason I love talking about hardware, software, UI design, and the overall experience in using computers is because I love what people can make with it. I didn’t get into writing about Apple to dive deep into the political ramifications these companies make. That isn’t what revs my engine, in fact it is the kill switch to my enthusiasm. To put it bluntly, the less I have to think about those kinds of things the better. Yet, today, and this past week really, isn’t one of those times.

This isn’t to say that what is happening isn’t important. In fact, I think it is a pivotal moment in the ongoing concerns about privacy. Still, for right now, writing about Apple isn’t fun for me, and I am having a hard time to get past the concerns so many people knowledgeable about the situation have raised. Apple has always been the privacy-focused company but now it seems that things are changing on that front.

I hope to come back Thursday with something fun for my paid subscribers, but today I couldn’t ignore this elephant in the room.

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Instead, I took the time I usually spend writing this newsletter to escape from this ongoing debate. I listened to podcasts like Do By Friday and The Dollop. I played Mass Effect Legendary Edition on my Xbox, and started watching To Obsidian and Beyond, a new course by The Sweet Setup. All of these things have been great distractions for me, and a much-needed mental health break.

Thursday will have something fun for you all. If you have anything you want me to write about or questions you want answered you can leave a comment at the link below or email me jeff@tablethabit.com.

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