ADOTAS – Don’t do it… Don’t do it… ARGGGH! Too late… The media has christened the controversy over Apple’s mobile location data collecting “Locationgate.” Just typing that word makes me want to bludgeon myself with my keyboard.
But the “scandal” has blown wide open — it’s a plague on the mobile spectrum. Android collects similar data, but refreshes the file. Microsoft is another mobile location data miner.
I suggested this was the exact kind of circumstance that warranted government oversight. One commenter called me nuts. Now congresspeople of all shapes and sizes and parties are demanding answers from mobile OS architects.
Wa-lah — Locationgate. Hottest tech scandal since Antennagate. And yet using such a tired media cliche as “+ gate” for all the hoopla seems oddly appropriate.
But that didn’t stop Blodgett from making hysterical proclamations like, “Apple has so mesmerized you that you live in the reality distortion field.” The headline, I kid you not, began “IT’S OFFICIAL: Apple Has Brainwashed The Whole Country.” (Really wish you BI guys would stop using the all-caps subhead “IT’S OFFICIAL” on stories that are anything but.)
Reading the story made me switch between rolling my eyes and sighing heavily, but one commenter on mades an interesting point: “Maybe the media is to blame. After they sensationalized the coverage of ‘antenna gate’ last summer they lost all credibility. Stop crying wolf!”
At the same time last summer when some journalists were asking what’s up with this new privacy language?, “Antennagate” had all the tech media and plenty of the mainstream media frothing. According to Apple, 0.55% of iPhone users complained about calls being dropped when users squeezed a certain area of their new smartphones, but the media made it sound like no call was safe.
So there’s definitely an argument that the mass part of the media was distracted from the real story, and thus distracted the rest of the public.
Now that the story has become a sensationalist hit, the media echoplex is filled with contradicting reports and hysterical rhetoric designed to draw up smartphone users’ paranoia. It’s the same kind of out-of-touch, ad-revenue-driving-through-page-views coverage that doesn’t inform the public, just confuses us.
Thus another “gate.” Another media-driven scandal. How many of these have I witnessed in 30 years? How many have I seen in the last 10 years? Five years? Last year — two in the tech world alone.
It’s no mystery to me why there’s a lack of consumer outrage — if anything, I’m surprised there’s not more apathy.