The Digital Betrayal of the Consumer is Officially Out of Control

This week we learned that with enough resources, organizations know no end to their lust for information via hacking. Attacking and penetrating the best protected systems is a high art, and if even the pros aren't safe, what are the consumer's chances?

There is officially no such thing as computer security. At least from the most sophisticated attackers. Our only hope is that our profile is so low and are activities so mundane that we're off any entity's radar. If you disagree, I present several stories that came to the surface this week.

1. First, at least one company that sells us our computers believes that it's okay to compromise our security and privacy for its corporate benefit. That company (this time), is Lenovo.

For the scary details, see: Glenn Fleishman's "The Worst Thing About Lenovo's Adware Isn't The Adware." Study this article closely and think about the implications. I liked this quote from the EFF:

This represents such a profound breach of trust by Lenovo against their customers that I suspect a lot of people will be reevaluating their decisions to purchase ThinkPad computers."

No wonder Tim Cook and Apple are so hard over on earning our trust. Without that, Apple would veer onto a perilous path leading to eventual destruction.

2. Governments are nowadays incredibly keen on collecting, at any cost, information that they believe will help them. Here's an extensive, instructive treatise about how pervasive the digital spying business is and the implications for citizens. It's long, but don't stop until you've read it all. "The Great SIM Heist - How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle."

3. Finally, and here's the icing on the cake from ars technica's Dan Goodin. It's even more compelling reading than the one above because it reveals the incredible, and I mean incredible, sophistication of modern spy software witten by nation-states with unlimited resources. "How 'omnipotent' hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last." If it seems to read like a spy thriller, that's because it is.

After you read these three articles, you'll never look at the modern tech world the same.

Next page: the tech news debris for the week of February 16.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris For the Week of February 16


Jason Snell has done an excellent job recapping the state of virtualizing Windows on a Mac. If you want to learn how this is done or just want a refresher on the technology, including all the options, this well-written article makes it all very understandable. "I'm a Mac and a PC: Virtualizing Windows on the Mac."

We know Apple pretty well and have good reason to both admire the company and appreciate it's strengths. Even so, Mike Elgan gives us "11 reasons why Apple is way more successful than you think." It's a great punctuation of Apple current state: "Why Apple is the most successful company in history."

Whenever we can gain a bit of insight into how the Apple Watch will work, in detail, it's most welcome. Here's a partial lowdown. "How The Apple Watch Will Work, As Explained By The People Making The Apps."

This next entry may not drive you to cord-cutting, but it might, in the back of your head, lead you down new paths when it comes to dreaming about a next generation Apple TV or even your current tech profile of equipment and choices. Brace yourself. "How networks speed up TV shows to shove more ads in your unsuspecting face."

Apple has always been a technology company, but with the advent of the Apple Watch, fashion now comes into play. As tech nerds, we have a lot to learn about fashion. Here's a starter kit. "What the Tech World Doesn't Understand About Fashion."

The general theme of Particle Debris is Apple-related offbeat news items. This next article may seem to have no connection to Apple, but I think it does, and so I'll present it. The basic idea is that with so much armchair analysis of Apple, one is always reminded that that there are deep insights that very few people get. Not me. Not even the best of the best. No matter how well well schooled and trained we are, there are always deep intellectual insights and facts that escape the best of us. And sober us when we find out the real story. Even when we're convinced we're right about Apple, we are often wrong. I can't think of any better example to present than this one. "The Time Everyone 'Corrected' the World’s Smartest Woman."

Here's an example of that. On one level, Samsung would like to compete with Apple Pay, and here's some superficial analysis. "Why Samsung wants an Apple Pay competitor." Okay, now let's dig deeper. "Apple Need Not Worry About Samsung's 'Totally Useless' Acquisition." Lesson: never take any one article as definitive. Keep digging.

Here's a great article that sums up the recent comments from Detroit execs about the Apple's prospects with an electric car. "Apple Car Should Have Detroit Shuddering in Absolute Fear." And for some additional punctuation, see: "What Happens If Apple Starts Making Cars."

Finally, that Apple-iBM partnership is starting to make some waves. If you hadn't realized how important it is, Jonny Evans at Computerworld tells a compelling story. "With IBM, Apple will own the mobile enterprise."

The key here is that every business wants to be successful. While they may not become successful on the scale of Apple, that doesn't mean that those businesses can't get smarter and exploit the tools IBM and Apple give them, tools that have already led to Apple's and IBM's success, to enhance their own business.

So businesses have a choice. Get on the wrong bandwagon thanks to politics or insular technical thinking. Or get on the success path with what Apple and IBM are providing. It's compelling.


Digital spy teaser image via Shutterstock.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.