Last week Apple unsurprisingly admitted that Siri voice data is being shared with third parties. Of course, we all authorized to share what we whisper to Siri by accepting the iOS software license agreement on first-run.
How much more unsurprising revelations do we need to hear before realizing that clicking the default option “Agree” often does more damage than good? In a world where having your whispers listened-in is easier than getting your voice heard, there are still those like the Electronic Frontier Foundation who chose to click “Disagree”.
Technology that serves to enable
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit organization that has a long history of promoting civil liberties like user privacy and free expression in the digital world. The CopyTrans Team regularly donates for EFF’s cause as we believe in technology that serves to enable and not to coerce.
EFF recently launched their first-ever mobile app. While the app is out for Android, the organization refused to agree to Apple’s developer agreement and didn’t release the app for iPhone .
Unlike the iOS software license agreement, the developer agreement is not such that end-users would see, nor have the freedom to decline after unboxing their iPhone. However, the developer agreement has an equal impact for developers and users alike.
There are several terms in the agreement that EFF found ‘outrageous’. And we had a hard time disagreeing. Here are just some of these terms:
End-user security is entirely in Apple’s hands; and not in the hands of the developers of the app you are using. Apple has to approve any app bug fixes and security updates (section 6.1). This puts app users’ security at risk. It is like having to wait for Microsoft’s approval to install the latest antivirus definitions on your PC!
Apps can get killed at any time. Apple can “revoke the digital certificate of any of Your Applications at any time” (section 8). Apple once confirmed that it can remotely disable apps even if they are already installed by users. That’s right, you got it; it’s like Microsoft remotely uninstalling programs from your computer.
Ban on jailbreaking. While jailbreaking is perfectly legal. Developers who signed the agreement are prohibited from fiddling with or enabling others to fiddle with any Apple software or technology (section 3.2).
All roads lead to… the App Store. The agreement prohibits anyone who used Apple developer tools to distribute their app anywhere else than the App Store (section 7.3). At the same time, Apple may reject to approve the app even if it meets all formal requirements. This means that developers whose app got declined from the App Store cannot distribute it in competing app stores like Cydia. Think about it; what if on your PC you could only use apps from the Windows Store?
No public statements; anyone who signed the developer agreement is prohibited from making public statements about the agreement (section 10.4). In other words, developers are not allowed to share their delight or discontent in public.
Read the Developer Agreement in full by clicking here.
Get your voice heard
The Electronic Frontier Foundation set up a petition to Apple to revisit their developer terms and conditions. Joining in and signing the petition is your chance to bring about change:Take Action – Sign the Petition to Apple
You are an iPhone user with a strong opinion about the points outlined in the article? We’d like to hear it. Leave your comment in the section below.