Thursday, October 04, 2007

iPhone and terms of service

Most people have heard about the iPhone "update" that bricked (technical term meaning it is broke) any iPhone which had been manipulated to unlock it from the AT&T carrier. This reaction and remedy by the combined legal, technical power known as Apple, AT&T causes one to ponder when did terms of service start allowing a company to come into your home (virtually) and destroy your personal property.

Now a lot of people on the net have been proclaiming loud and long that you bought it you agreed to the terms and you got what you deserve nah nah nah. Okay I'm game what subsection of the terms of service allowed Apple, AT&T to destroy equipment (virtually). Yes I know they had a warning "oh thank you mighty Apple, AT&T". Where is Apple, AT&T's proof that everyone who had equipment destroyed agreed to those terms. Say they did not activate through iTunes and used Tmobile as a phone carrier would they have ever agreed to those terms. Is it okay to sell a device that has such terms of services if the consumer can not view and agree to said terms prior to plunking down cash and walking out of the store. When did it become okay for a company to provide a "software patch" that destroys a device and not have responsibility for said destruction. And so what if the software patch did have terms of service as well what the heck gives a vendor the right to destroy things. Is there a clause that goes

i Blah da Blah
ii. Oh and hey if you have fiddled with this thing in a way we don't like we reserve the right to kill it.

This is where it leads folks. Microsoft has terms that states Vista home can not run under a Virtual environment. So say they detect they are in a virtual environment and if they are say the running Vista zaps the hard drive of the Operating System running the Virtual environment. Or if Sony had its way when you tried to rip a CD little spikes would come out and turn the inside of your CD drive to shreds. Actually they might even be happy if some of the little spikes flew out and did bodily harm just to teach you not to steal.

Consumers need to wake up and take a look around realize this goes way beyond cows and cheese (Read Leo Laport's blog) it goes to the heart of ownership and what it means to "have" things. If we don't pay attention some of the Sci/Fi stories about consumers existing only to support large companies might come true. Where ownership is taboo and all you are allowed to do is lease items for a "reasonable" rate and if you are not willing to lease things, well there is a van down by the river for "those" type of people.

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