THE UNCOMPROMISING Free Software Foundation (FSF) looks unlikely to adopt the latest Apple iPhones and roll them out across its organisation.
Apple launched the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S this week. Whatever they promise users has not impressed the FSF, which said that it wanted nothing to do with the walled-garden handsets.
FSF executive director John Sullivan said that the hardware, which includes a fingerprint scanner called Touch ID, is coming out at a time when people are particularly concerned about privacy. He suggested that these two things do not match up together well.
"Mobile phones are the most widely used and deeply intimate personal computing devices. With all of the emails, text messages, photos, and videos mediated by these devices, it is essential that the software they run be fully under the control of their users," he said in a statement.
"Instead, Apple has given us new hardware with the same old restrictions, allowing only Apple approved software, putting users - along with their data, their privacy, and their freedom of expression - at the mercy of programs whose operations are secret and demonstrably untrustworthy. We can't imagine a more hostile reaction to the wave of privacy concerns sweeping the world right now than debuting a proprietary, network-accessible fingerprint scanner as your new 'feature'."
With this in mind the FSF cannot possibly recommend that anyone use the Apple kit, and instead is telling people to avoid it.
"Because so many people carry computers in their pocket which can track and transmit where they have been, who they have communicated with, what they are interested in, and what sights and sounds are around them at any given moment, any liveable future absolutely depends on free 'as in freedom' software," added Sullivan. "Free software empowers users to replace any software hostile to their interests. The first step is rejecting Apple's restrictions."
The Apple iPhone 5S is where you will find the fingerprint scanner, and Youtube is where you can find a video that shows how it works. Jony Ive says that it is part of an overall care package that is designed to make the handset as useful as it possibly could be.
The video shows what a detailed fingerprint your handset will build up over time. Apple said that fingerprint information is encrypted and stored on the iPhone's A7 chip. Data stored is only available in access terms to the fingerprint scanner, and no other applications, it claimed. µ
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