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Top 10 technology villains of 2012

Mon Dec 24 2012, 11:00

Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg has a subtle charm about his villainy. With a different telling his story could be one of Orwell's best.

As a Big Brother style all-seeing eye, his Facebook is the stuff that 1984 is made of. A machine that controls the message? Facebook. The loss of individual privacy and the loss of the right to vote about community policies? That's Facebook. A single figurehead? Yup, that too.

If this was a pantomime, people would boo and hiss at the mention of Facebook and Zuckerberg. And if he had one, the Zuck character would be twirling his moustache and chortling as he destroyed privacy.

That innocent deer-in-the-headlights expression Zuckerberg often wears in public? In our opinion, we imagine that he's really thinking something like, "I can't believe you dumb f**ks are really letting me get away with this."

We don't know about you, but we were excited when 4G cellular networks finally arrived in the UK earlier this year, a move that saw us Brits finally catching up with the US and other parts of Europe. But there's one slight, well, massive problem with it - we can't bloody afford it.

EE has been the first mobile network to bring this "superfast" connectivity - if you consider 22Mbit/s speeds superfast - to the UK, and for that it should be applauded. However, the bizarrely-named operator has made 4G inaccessible for those who don't have a money tree growing in their back garden. Come on, £56 a month for 8GB of data? Not cool, EE.

Perhaps when its competitors O2 and Vodafone launch LTE services in 2013, EE will take a long hard look at its ridiculous prices. That is unless it wants to find itself on this list again next year.

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer seems to be in the midst of presiding over the impending destruction of Microsoft.

While a couple of writers here at The INQUIRER are cheered by this prospect and believe that it couldn't happen to a nicer company, there remains the fact that Microsoft still drives hardware cycles in the PC industry, and that momentum is faltering.

Ballmer was ultimately responsible for the debacle that was Windows Vista. Microsoft barely recovered from that fiasco with Windows 7, but it lost a lot of trust in corporate accounts in the process. Lately, it has alienated many of the PC hardware OEMs by building its own tablets, directly competing with them, so they are now understandably more open to looking at alternatives. Dell is even selling a high-end laptop preloaded with Linux.

Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Canonical, which develops the Ubuntu Linux distribution, and he seems to have gone over to the dark side.

Unlike Novell, he didn't make a deal with Microsoft, but instead hooked up with another big company based in Seattle, online retailer Amazon, to send it all Ubuntu users' search queries by default.

This has Ubuntu Linux users up in arms - and rightly so - at what they view as a cynical breach of their internet privacy. Since this planned 'feature' of Ubuntu's Lens desktop search tool is turned on by default, rather than opt-in, and adverts from Amazon will be sent to them unencrypted, advocates of online privacy like the Electronic Frontier Foundation steadfastly oppose it.

It remains to be seen if Shuttleworth will come to his senses and abandon this daft scheme to invade unsuspecting Ubuntu Linux users' privacy by selling their search queries.


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