I know it’s been a while since everyone went apeshit about what happened with a few illegally-produced copies of “1984” on everyone’s newly favorite punching bag, so my commentary may fall on deaf ears. But consider this:
Amazon reached into thousands of Kindles and zapped a copy of a book these people ordered in good faith. Now it’s true that the “publisher” wasn’t legally able to publish the book, but the removal of the book without consideration of the reader should disturb thinking people. And Amazon’s replacing of the copies with an “official” copy shouldn’t make you any more comfortable.
Why? Simple: The fact that Amazon was able to figure out whether you had the illegal copy of that book in the first place. And if they didn’t know, they could send a simple computer program to each Kindle along the lines of:
- Check to see if a copy of X’s 1984 exists.
- If X exists, erase X; notify Amazon; erase self.
- In no X, erase self.
Quite simple, and most people need not know that Amazon sent a program to their Kindle. Just those with the wrong version of 1984.
Now…if a dumb terminal with a fixed purpose can do that, what about your PC with 250 Gigabytes of memory and 40+ Gigabytes of music on it…most of it pilfered off of P2P programs? Don’t think that a bunch of people with the power to do stuff don’t know what you have listened to for the past twelve years? And what you’ve read on the World Wide Web?
And I don’t mean hackers (although I’m sure they and their evil counterparts all over the world know as well). I mean the RIAA and their member Corporations, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, the US Governement (and some of the States as well), a few Muslim organizations planning for Jihad, China, the CIA, the Business Software Alliance and a few shadow organizations invested with a few Order 66s that have yet to be invoked (remember, Emperor Palpatine said “Execute Order 66.” It was already given, just held back until needed).
What if they decided that it was time to…say, declare the .mp3 format illegal? Everything had to be DRM’s or controlled by some corporation, and with the .mp3 format having become the standard for reduced digital music, it’s now outside of normal ownership concerns…so the order is put out to remove everything with a .mp3 (and .ogg to get the few who HATE ownership) at the end of the file name. iPods have this program placed in them, and music players are set up to break their .mp3 playing capabilities. When the time has come, the computer command is sent out and…no more music for 98% of the computers out there. Sure, some of the people out there will have their songs intact, but those people will be rare, and don’t be surprised if the people who’ve lost their music will suddenly find that they’ll be unable to collect most of it (and the rest that can be gotten will have suddenly gotten more expensive). And that’s whether you bought that .mp3 legally or found it by searching The Pirate Bay.
And those freeware programs that people put out? When they want their wares paid for, all they need to do is send out an order to break the freeware versions of said programs. You MIGHT get to restart the program at a “deal” rate (smaller programmers will likely give a deal just to keep the person halfway in their camp). And if the OS is reconfigured to run only programs that have been proven to have been paid for, good luck hiding in some non-internet section – especially now, that the programs are programmed to reach out and update themselves.
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Consider what has happened in the twenty-five-plus years since that Apple commercial ran during the Super Bowl XVIII:
- Typewriters have been traded in for Word Processors on Computers
- LPs were traded in for CDs, which were then traded in for .mp3s
- Paint and Air Brushes were traded in for Photoshop, and Blueprint for CAD.
- Air Transmission TV was traded in for Cable, which was then traded in for YouTube.
- Books have been traded in for the World Wide Web, then for Facebook and Twitter.
- All those record stores and book stores and computer stores and other sort of stores have been (and/or will be) replaced by “cyber storefronts.”
- Accounting is now done purely on computers.
- Telephones have been traded in for cell phones (which can pinpoint where you and and when you were there).
In short, what was once a reasonably private society has been opened up to the powers that be (and powers that want to be) to a degree which even your local village couldn’t handle. They know your tastes to the point that they can even predict what you might want next, and they know when you break that law nobody seems to consider important…except the people who collect your information so that when the time comes they can gobsmack you with your multiple felonies.
And here’s the kicker: we now post our crimes to the world. Titty pictures, married men and women seeking each other to cheat with, even collegiate underaged drinkers – open to cops, future bosses, mullahs looking for people to stone and even your neighbors; and everything put up willingly by the people doing these acts. Heck, email is so open nowadays. (no, not the weather leaks, something more important)
That’s the true import of the Kindle/1984 issue. Not that it was done, but it can be done anytime, anywhere, and by anyone who wants to…and more.