Monday, September 26, 2016

Apple is deleting music off your hard drives, my friends.

Not content with simply phoning home with a list of every piece of music you own, Apple is now taking stuff off your drives and deleting the ones they don't like.

...through the Apple Music subscription, which I had, Apple now deletes files from its users' computers. When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple's database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn't recognize—which came up often, since I'm a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple's database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.

The best part of the above revelation is that you agreed to it. The long, unreadable, universally ignored ULA that everyone just clicks "agree" so they can use the program? Yeah, that says you agree to let them delete stuff off your PC/Mac/phone whatever. Not up at the top in big letters either, be it noted.

I don't have this problem at the moment, because in a paranoid reflex I automatically revoke permission for software to do anything at all regarding uploading "usage" data, automatic updates, any of it. My chief complaint with Windows 10 is forced updates. I do not want a company forcing files on my computer when they see fit.

But the author mentions a much larger issue that most people still seem unaware of. The very nature of the transaction you agree to when you buy something is changing, and not to your benefit.

For about ten years, I've been warning people, "hang onto your media. One day, you won't buy a movie. You'll buy the right to watch a movie, and that movie will be served to you. If the companies serving the movie don't want you to see it, or they want to change something, they will have the power to do so. They can alter history, and they can make you keep paying for things that you formerly could have bought. Information will be a utility rather than a possession. Even information that you yourself have created will require unending, recurring payments just to access."

When giving the above warning, however, even in my most Orwellian paranoia I never could have dreamed that the content holders, like Apple, would also reach into your computer and take away what you already owned. If Taxi Driver is on Netflix, Netflix doesn't come to your house and steal your Taxi Driver DVD. But that's where we're headed. When it comes to music, Apple is already there.

Yes they are, and so is Google and a few more. Microsoft and other large companies have gone to a "subscriber" model for their software, such as Office 365, and Adobe has a subscription-only model for Photoshop etc. This puts users of their software at their mercy. If you have a large body of work recorded in Photoshop file format, you are pretty well stuck with continuing your subscription. That's a problem, in my eyes.

Thus I offer as a public service the following: if you don't have to use a walled-garden product like iTunes, Photoshop, Office 365, iPhone/iPod/iPad, and so forth, don't do it. I switched back to Blackberry for this reason. Its a Canadian company that owns its own NON-AMERICAN server backbone, and it doesn't (at the moment) offer "services" that invade my hardware on their own. Whatever they do in Cupertino or Washington DC, Blackberry has its own stuff that won't be affected.

I use MS Word for convenience. But I also have software on hand that can convert those saved files to a variety of different formats, and I have two open-source alternatives to edit my files. LibreOffice and OpenOffice. I have ebooks on a Kindle sure enough, but I also have Calibre software to store and re-format those ebook files. I don't have to count on Amazon to remember what I bought from them. I've got a copy right here on my own drives.

I also have backups. I have backups of my backups. I have DVDs, thumb drives, and hard drives. I have hard drives sitting in dusty boxes in the basement. I'm pretty sure there's a box of tapes around here somewhere from the old days. I have an off- site server too. Slow and crappy thing I bought outright from some company that offers them dirt cheap.

Why bother with all that paranoid shit? Because what Apple is doing now, -everybody- is going to be doing presently. Having your own storage is going to be outlaw territory, like having a car with a carburetor is now. I like to be prepared for that kind of thing.

The Deplorable Yet Prepared Phantom

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