Things I will be doing if Apple goes ahead with its plans to violate the sanctity of your devices:

- Remove Better Blocker from the iOS and Mac app stores.

- Stop recommending Apple as a privacy-protecting alternative outside of China (already wasn’t in China)

- Stop using an iPhone and not buy another Apple phone/computer (had already moved my daily driver dev machine to Linux three years ago).

- Not write another line of code for their platforms.

(Regarding the first note, there is no point attempting to protect you from web trackers if your phone or computer itself is violating your privacy. By keeping Better Blocker on the App Store if Apple goes ahead with its current plans to violate your privacy on your own devices, we’d be legitimising iPhones, iPads, and Macs as otherwise safe spaces which they won’t be if Apple doesn’t backtrack and make a firm commitment to not violating your privacy.)


Sales of Better Blocker bring in money every month that contributes to the survival of our tiny two-person not-for-profit but, if Apple goes ahead with these plans, we will happily sacrifice that income as we would no longer want to be in any way associated with Apple Inc., and lend our legitimacy in privacy to its platforms (in the same way we don’t associate with other surveillance capitalists like Google, Facebook, etc.)

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Your security and privacy are only as strong as your root of trust. If you cannot trust your own device and its operating system to not violate your privacy and to only act as expressly instructed by you and, furthermore, only in your interests, then any “security” or “privacy” you layer on top of that broken root of trust is simply security/privacy theatre.

Either something is private by default or it is not private. Either your privacy is sacrosanct or it is not.

@aral Hope all developers were brave enough and had moral principles same as your company we would had never had this privacy problem. For big guys it’s all rolling in money. 👍 #privacy #standup

@garow Perhaps because we’re not a commercial company. We don’t care about money beyond unfortunately having a need for it to survive within the shortsighted capitalistic system we find ourselves living under. First and foremost, we simply want to help create the kind of world we want to live in ourselves: one where everyone has the right to a good life without struggling just to survive. The kind of world we could have if we didn’t have billionaires and trillion-dollar corporations.

@aral I'm not sure if that is the right response. I'm not sure if there is a better one, mind you.

It brings to mind something that we've been going over at my part-time employer recently. We're also busy with securing IoT, which means providing means for secure booting and upgrading firmware (really services making that easier).

Secure boot is a fairly simple thing whereby each boot stage validates the next, so you can...

#apple #privacy #surveillanceCapitalism #humanRights

@aral make sure that the devices you ship run only specific software. So far, so good for appliances.

General purpose computers require some kind of sideloading, so secure boot can only verify the base software. For side loaded content, you can find similar code signing mechanisms.

But it introduces a new problem that Trusted Platform Module (TPM) attempts to address, and that is for side loaded apps to verify the OS.

The signing/verification stuff isn't really relevant to...

@aral ... this situation, but the mental model is:

Apps must treat the OS as (potentially) hostile.

IMHO that's the only way you can serve users in the long run.

If you deny the users of a hostile OS secure services, they're left to their own. If you can offer them secure services that help them combat the hostility of the OS, you've improved their lives.

Clearly that won't apply to all kinds of software. It's more of a thought that one can balance against boycott.

@jens I see and acknowledge your point. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been pragmatic about Apple’s platforms even through, for example, the proprietary nature of it goes against our principles. But if these plans go ahead, we will use our limited time and energy to inform people about private by default alternatives and not waste any time or effort legitimising or otherwise developing specifically for a hostile platform.

@jens (Folks can still protect themselves by, say, using the rules in Firefox on Mac if forced to use a Mac going forward. And if they can’t even do that on iOS, you have yet another reason to question and perhaps eventually leave the platform. What we will not do, however, is associate with, profit from, or legitimise such a platform if Apple goes ahead with its current plans. Just like we don’t with Google or Facebook.)

@aral And I'm not arguing with that attitude. I hope that's clear, too!

@aral @jens If we are not obliged (by f.e. employer) to use hostile OS just let's don't do it...
We should do everything to focus effort to use and support development only open source OS's.

@miklo @aral Yeah, that's ignoring the needs of everyone who doesn't have that choice. Can't find it in me to abandon them all.

@aral This is why I find developments like Apple's M1 and Googles Tensor SoCs concerning. Also TPMs that don't allow installation of user derived keys.
The manufacturer has complete vertical control and you can't guarantee what back doors are or are not present, possibly right down at the silicon level.

@aral I used to have code that I carried support for building and testing on MacOS. At one time we were given a mac to do testing and porting with. There are a few obscure link options for runtime plugins, build options to detect and use homebrew library paths such as for openssl, and to deal with other minor behavior changes. I am now systematically eliminating those from my codebase..

@aral one thing will be tricky, though: someone will upload an app under that exact name somewhere down the line. And people will think it's yours. I don't have a solution for that, though.

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