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Morons, Your Bus Is Leaving for EFF’s Crystal Prison

“Morons, your bus is leaving!”

That line from Groundhog Day pops into my head every so often when I hear something so truly stupid it takes only a second to fully realize how stupid it is.

On Twitter, @AdamThierer points to such a stupid idea posited in a post by the Electronic Frontier Foundation titled “Apple’s Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms.” EFF claims to be “defending your rights in the digital world”, but in reality they are clueless about as often as they are right.  This post is no exception. The gist of it is this:

Apple’s recent products, especially their mobile iOS devices, are like beautiful crystal prisons, with a wide range of restrictions imposed by the OS, the hardware, and Apple’s contracts with carriers as well as contracts with developers. Only users who can hack or “jailbreak” their devices can escape these limitations.

First, the notion of a phone as a prison is a little ridiculous.  Why?  Because there are only about a million of them to choose from. Don’t like Apple’s limitations? Go Droid, or BlackBerry, or Windows, or…

Get the point?  There are so many options there is no reason to choose Apple unless you actually want it.

That brings me to the second point.  If you buy able, you are probably aware that it is a restricted platform.  Either that or you have not been paying attention to the PC/Apple skirmishes of the last three decades.  All of Apple’s devices are restricted in some way or another.  That’s part of how they maintain their reputation for “it just works.” They limit your options because most people, given the ability, will eventually f**k it up.

That brings me to my last point.  EFF notes that Apple is restricted unless you can “jailbreak” your phone.  Google it!  I’ll wait…

That’s right, there are almost as many places that will show you how to jailbreak your phone as there are options for other phones.  If you decide to jailbreak it, the courts have even said that is perfectly legal.

However, they have also said that Apple is perfectly within its rights to refuse your warranty if you f**k up your phone.  You see how that works?

Just like with my car, if I take out the factory engine and add a nitrous system, I can’t exactly be surprised if Chevy will no longer honor my warranty.  This works exactly the same way.

Nobody would say your ability to tinker with your car is impeded, but they would also not claim Chevy is responsible for fixing everything some halfwit breaks.

Yet EFF expects Apple to hold itself to a different standard.


Written by Michael Turk