Imagine Google apps as viruses or spyware

Maybe that’s not a fair analogy, but it is an interesting thought that Google apps would make fantastic viruses and spyware.

For one, you don’t need them to act like part of the operating system (Android) but they do anyway.

You can disable some of them though, but you do not get the option to uninstall them like regular programs. Not unless you root your phone, which voids your warranty. (Very convenient for phone manufacturers, I suppose.)

It’s interesting that Microsoft and Linux give you root privileges to your own computer. But for your ‘security,’ more likely the security of Google’s business, root privilege has to be wrestled from Android at potentially great expense. Google’s Android seems to give the user the ‘barest’ minimum of control. Like when task manager (on Windows) is disabled by a virus.

Then you notice that Google Play Services updated itself in the background without the option to give it the permission to do so. (Of course it is not the only culprit.) That’s classic virus/spyware behavior — doing interesting things under the hood.

You boot up the phone for the first time and you are asked to acknowledge (setup) the presence of Google. Then her apps encourage you to leave your door open in order to enable a better service experience for you. In real life, this is not smart.

(It’s okay that we have nothing to hide, but our private parts are still private parts. We might choose to bare almost all on the beach, but we leave the beach where it is when we leave it. It seems like several app builders just want us to live life fully as on the beach — for the convenience that that would provide them.)

Then, was there ever a sudden realisation that your phonebook was backed up to your Google profile for your convenience. That’s okay if you don’t mind. But was this feature on by default? You probably told it to. There are settings choices that the make easy to make, and may be useful. There are also menacing default settings, particularly those you cannot change (like the compulsory background updates using your data), or the option to change is blurred or discouraged (placed at the bottom of a scrollable menu, or ‘dehighlighted’).

In summary, it is possible, perhaps easy, to view Google’s Android as a hijacked opensource operating system. It’s just about their business though; nothing personal. (The article in the following link highlights the business: It doesn’t seem like things have changed.

So I’m beginning to think that it is in the interest of the public, national security, and basic human rights, that Google’s Android come with root access provided, and better, easily accessible user control of access to the private. And if Microsoft lost an antitrust case, should Google not lose one too.


Imprisonment, Human Rights, and Justice

That the punishments of imprisonment prescribed by justice amount to the deprivation of the guilty party’s fundamental human rights points to one definition for punishment: the treatment of an individual with less dignity than meets man. Saying in some way, that the crime for which the guilty was found guilty, is characteristic of a lack respect for the dignity and fundamental human rights of others. Therefore the guilty ought also suffer a loss of dignity, freedoms, and/or possessions for justice to be done. Not exactly ‘an eye for an eye,’ but, not unreasonable, and not insufficient in measure.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) 2010 implicitly acknowledges that imprisonment based on ‘civilised’ justice and a fair trial is not torturous, is not inhuman, and is not degrading. if imprisonment is inherently non of these then one can ask how it is a punishment at all. Therefore there lies an apparent contradiction with article three of section one (Prohibition of torture): No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. And because it carries an absolute sense, and embodies the spirit of the entire document.

Prisoners are a people under captivity, and those in solitary confinement are as under house arrest. So imprisonment, by nature, is at the very least, degrading to the dignity inherent in man. A man’s freedom of movement and his privacy are severely restricted. Additionally, human beings are put in cages and may even fed as animals in a zoo. And depending on the individual psychology or choice of the prisoner, it may be properly torturous.

Rephrasing the article three: it says that just punishments, including incarceration and detention, should not be torturous, inhuman, or degrading. But Punishments typically have elements of torture, are an act in degradation, and might be inhumane. So the question, in terms of human rights, if punishments are just, cannot be fundamentally of torture … . Rather, it should be more about whether a punishment and its severity are just and warranted; whether the practice or act of it meets the purpose of it, without reducing the effectors to sadists or mere barbarians.

One may thus actually say that the article three gives no room to imprisonment, thereby going against certain conditions in articles four and five that permit them. And maybe also, it goes against the laws of a country to which it applies. (I’m thinking of Norway and the Anders Behring Breivik human rights case.) It says that imprisonments are illegal and should therefore be abolished.

Hence, for instance, if Anders Breivik must be punished having his ‘fundamental rights’ violated, he should be freed instead. The notion that breaking one law means that the whole law has been broken applies here. If one right is broken, then all is broken. It is therefore false to seek to implement some rights while permitting others to be denied. Should all prisoners be freed and should the ECHR 2010 document be voided?

Finally, if punishments by imprisonment is a true necessity for justice, the thought of the possibility of infringing on any fundamental human rights specified in the ECHR 2010 should not arise. There should be no statement in it absolutely prohibiting imprisonment directly or indirectly. Perhaps the article three should be rethought, expanded, or rephrased. Where do we start if what it says now is fundamental to everything we mean to uphold absolutely?