Tim Cook quotes Blue Beetle September 18, 2014 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Apple CEO Tim Cook on user privacy: A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.
posted by empath to MetaFilter-Related at 7:11 AM (57 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

blue_beetle previously wrote:
Well, it's nice to have my 5 minutes of internet fame... but honestly as many have mentioned, it's a pretty common sentiment around these parts so I can't take credit for the idea, only the happenstance of putting the words in that order at that time.
And neroli previously cited an earlier version of the same sort of thing, from Richard Serra in 1973: "In commercial broadcasting the viewer pays for the privlige of having himself sold."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


It could be worse.

You could pay $5 and be the product being sold.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:05 AM on September 18, 2014 [29 favorites]


filthy light thief: And neroli previously cited an earlier version of the same sort of thing

I think blue_beetle phrased the idea much more elegantly than it had been previously phrased. I think that's a fine accomplishment, worth celebrating. Tim Cook didn't say "the privilege of having himself sold" but "you're not the customer, you're the product."
posted by Kattullus at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2014 [10 favorites]


There even is the "Paying for it shirt"! With credit.
posted by travelwithcats at 8:31 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yep, I saw that article yesterday and it reminded me that I really need to buy a 'product being sold' t-shirt from the store. It's a great quote and a great shirt.
posted by librarylis at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


was about to say this belonged on the front page, until I saw the quote.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2014


A different take.
posted by dfriedman at 9:21 AM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


A different take.

When someone starts a comment/article/screed with "Actually", my eyes can't help but glaze over. Poking holes in the metaphor rarely helps the argument.
posted by Etrigan at 9:29 AM on September 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


"If you pay for a service, you are only the product being sold if someone hacks your pictures and sells them for bitcoin. Other than that though, you're good."
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:42 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: Poking holes in the metaphor rarely helps the argument.

My personal take is that the metaphor is overly simplified. This particular metaphor is most often used by people who are speaking with disdain of those who choose to use an ad-supported product and then get upset with their personal information is used in seemingly nefarious ways.

There is no fast and sharp customer/product binary. People find use and enjoyment out of "free" ad-driven services. For example, there are non-members who derive use and enjoyment out of MetaFilter for free, but provide benefit the site through the ad revenue they bring to the site.

blue_beetle's phrasing is clean and clear, even if the metaphor isn't.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:52 AM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Look around the table. If you can't spot the goose, it's too late for you.
posted by fleacircus at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think blue_beetle phrased the idea much more elegantly than it had been previously phrased. I think that's a fine accomplishment, worth celebrating. Tim Cook didn't say "the privilege of having himself sold" but "you're not the customer, you're the product."

Richard Serra's piece hammers this in a bunch of different ways. It does say "You are the product" and "You are delivered to the advertiser who is the customer".
posted by JamesD at 10:11 AM on September 18, 2014


Call me what you wish, product, customer, fool. I don't care. If I am using it, I just want it to work without being annoying.
posted by 724A at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not to make anyone feel old or anything: Forbes.

The old adage goes that if you’re not paying for a product, then by default you are the product.

posted by chavenet at 10:29 AM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


JamesD: Richard Serra's piece hammers this in a bunch of different ways.

True, but blue_beetle hit the nail on the head, as it were.
posted by Kattullus at 10:55 AM on September 18, 2014


Is it just me or does the second link not go directly to the comment, just the thread?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2014


Happened to me too, BB. I thought it was iOS8 acting up.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:43 AM on September 18, 2014


I just fixed the link! The comment ID had a typo.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2014


Poor idiopath...
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2014 [19 favorites]


But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.


IME, as far as Apple is concerned, lately you can't expect either one.
posted by misha at 12:00 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

This on the same day I learn the warrant canary has disappeared.
posted by Kabanos at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


If the online service is free, you're not the customer. You're not even the product. You're just metadata floating in the psychosphere of your demographic, waiting to evaporate into the ether.

-Detective Rustin Spencer "Rust" Cohle
posted by naju at 12:58 PM on September 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

As the Supreme Court has recently noted, every corporation is entitled to its own belief. Doesn't mean they practice what they claim to believe any more than it does for people.
posted by maryr at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2014


This on the same day I learn the warrant canary has disappeared.

Really curious to see where this goes.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:44 PM on September 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


jessamyn: Ever thought of patenting the warrant canary? Imagine if, for every company in the world, when given an illegal order by the intelligence community, you got handed 5$?
posted by el io at 3:07 PM on September 18, 2014


I just hope this now means people will stop posting that chestnut in every other social media related thread.

It was clever the first 30 times. I'm just completely tired of it. I can't imagine anyone posting it now not wearing a fedora.
posted by emptythought at 3:12 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


If you're not quoting it, you're not m'lady, you're the fedora being tipped.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:18 PM on September 18, 2014 [41 favorites]


"Free" content and services are always priced based on their true value. If you're not paying for it, it's worth every penny.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2014


And that Ferris Bueller was Cameron's hallucination story is older than the mention here also.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:08 PM on September 18, 2014


Ari Melber just quoted this, with graphic, on THE LAST WORD. Credited to "lifehacker.com". Boooo.
posted by Justinian at 7:05 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lifehack: Can't find the exact words you want to communicate an idea? Use someone else's!
posted by maryr at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Really curious to see where this goes.

Surely the NSA is sneaky enough to request that they put it back up in a few days.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:04 PM on September 18, 2014


Really curious to see where this goes.

Can somebody explain (or point to an explanation) of what 'this' is? Thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:08 PM on September 18, 2014


Stavros, I believe this.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:11 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


> When someone starts a comment/article/screed with "Actually", my eyes can't help but glaze over.

That's much closer to heaven than "I kind of feel like this is really a thing because reasons".
posted by sylvanshine at 9:11 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, that is nothing. Here's Michael Hayden, former chief of peeking, prodding, and prying, in an interview with Ynetnews. My emphasis:
"Now, with regards to Angry Birds, we're not mad at Angry Birds, and we're not trying to defend the universe from Angry Birds. Although you might want to consider defending yourself from Angry Birds, because the free software app that you can download apparently sucks the brains out of your iPhone and sends it back to the Angry Birds starship, where they then process the data for sale. If you aren't paying for the app, you aren't a customer, you're the product.

"What NSA apparently does - and here I'm only reflecting what I have read in the newspaper - is legitimate intelligence targets, if they're stupid enough to download Angry Birds, we're going to jump on that link going back to the Angry Birds starship and we're going to read all the brains of his iPhone too. But it's not about Angry Birds per se, and it's not about sucking up the data of 1.5 billion people who have downloaded the app."
So there you have it. A former head of the NSA and CIA quotes Metafilter.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:19 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I really need to buy a 'product being sold' t-shirt from the store.

I love mine. When I notice somebody reading it, I stretch it out from the bottom hem to make it easier for them, at which point they start reading it out loud. "It's about Facebook," I say. They either go, "Yeah!" and we have a lively discussion about our data being mined and sold, or they say, "...Oh?" and look thoughtful.

Somebody in my choir, a nice, brownie-bakin', Sarah Palin-supportin' grandmother who's just tech savvy enough to use Facebook, read the shirt at the beginning of one rehearsal and got an uncomfortable look on her face. At the end, she came back to me and said, "Y'know, I never thought about Facebook that way before. It really made me think!" So thanks, blue_beetle and Metafilter!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:15 AM on September 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Mine has sparked some conversations too. Also a good signifier for meetups.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2014


Technically it was about Digg, but the time is quickly approaching that no one will know what a "Digg" was.

Regardless, the t-shirt is made and sold by Mathowie and sales go 100% to Metafilter, so I'd advise everyone to buy one for every member of their family, their friends, and random acquaintances.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:25 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


At the risk of being that guy who pipes up and says the obvious thing that everybody else already got, the t-shirt represents Morrissette-grade irony in that the user-contributed quote is itself the product being sold.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:56 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


cybercoitus interruptus: "It's about Facebook," I say.

It's about the internet at large, I say. Facebook (and other social sites) just asks for more information, and most people give it without a second thought.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:21 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, it's nice to have my 5 minutes of internet fame... but honestly as many have mentioned, it's a pretty common sentiment around these parts so I can't take credit for the idea, only the happenstance of putting the words in that order at that time.

I have the same feelings about Ferris Bueller. Really happy people liked it, but I keep having to swear up and down that it wasn't really my idea.

I keep waiting for the shoe to drop where I'm exposed as a fraud at worst or a petty joke-stealer at best.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:41 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nothing is new, under the sun.

Or as said by the poet Reznor,

I am just a copy of a copy of a copy
everything I say has come before
assembled into something into something into something
I don't know for certain anymore.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:51 AM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Technically it was about Digg, but the time is quickly approaching that no one will know what a "Digg" was.

Hey, New Digg is doing great! It's definitely not Old Digg. For which I am grateful.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:32 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


> IME, as far as Apple is concerned, lately you can't expect either one.

Call me if call me woz ever designs another computer (Apple or otherwise). I'll buy it in a heartbeat. (though I'll certainly check it out online, just to drool over it happily while amazon fulfillment is doing its physical-world thing.)
posted by jfuller at 1:34 PM on September 19, 2014


It's about the internet at large, I say. Facebook (and other social sites) just asks for more information

Agreed. I just specify "Facebook" because I think one concrete example helps non-tech people grasp the concept more easily. However, maybe I'll start adding "And the internet at large!"
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:25 PM on September 19, 2014


cortex: "If you're not quoting it, you're not m'lady, you're the fedora being tipped."

I am horribly saddened because I got this.
posted by Splunge at 4:16 PM on September 19, 2014


When the service isn't free, you aren't the product, you're the customer!
posted by oceanjesse at 1:57 AM on September 21, 2014


Get down, get down.
posted by box at 4:01 PM on September 21, 2014


Technically it was about Digg, but the time is quickly approaching that no one will know what a "Digg" was.

So, I was an avid internet citizen throughout the Digg years and even I just had to Wikipedia it to make sure that it wasn't just a misspelling of Reddit.
posted by 256 at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing Orwell missed about the telescreens in 1984 is the part where they're made so damn useful that people demand to have them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:31 AM on September 23, 2014


"What stops a company that does charge you money to use their service from also selling your data?"

Ok : If you're not doing the key exchange, then you're somebody's product, not only a customer.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2014




From that article:
“This is excellent news for Facebook stock holders,” says Wall Street analyst Dale Sackrider. “As of August this year, Facebook had a total of 1.317 billion users. If just 75% of those members pay the new monthly service fee of $3..." [emphasis mine]


Bwahahaha
posted by 256 at 8:35 PM on October 1, 2014


National Report is a satire website.
posted by Kattullus at 10:26 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bwahahaha on me, then!
posted by 256 at 12:42 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have begun visiting Digg daily again. It is actually quite excellent as a resource for new and interesting stuff -- well over half of what appears on Metafilter's front page these days generally shows up there a day or two beforehand, so by the time it arrives here (since Digg mercifully no longer has comment threads) I'm ready to see what Mefites have to say.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:42 PM on October 4, 2014


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