The Battlestar Galactica Option

In the Battlestar Galactica television series, the Twelve Colonies’s space fleet was disabled by a computer virus which spread through the fleet’s computer network. Battlestar Galactica was the only ship immune to the attack because the virus couldn’t propagate through its air-gapped non-networked systems.

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

Eric Schmidt, Google CEO

At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.

My iPhone stores my schedule, contacts, todo lists, stuff I don’t want made public or sold to the highest bidder. Apple protects user data very carefully so I’m not worried. If that policy changes, however, I’ll execute what I call the Battlestar Galactica Option: ditch the smart phone and use non-networked alternatives.

The iPhone is a decent music player, camera, GPS navigation system, calendar, todo list, and ebook reader. You can buy a MP3 music player for $50. The calendar and todo list can be easily replaced with a paper notebook1. A GPS system is standard equipment on mid-priced new cars and a standalone unit is under $100.

Apple vs Google

If Apple goes to the Dark Side, why not use an Android phone with the Google calendar and email? Apple makes its money selling hardware to you. Google makes its money selling you to advertisers and has no problem deleting your documents it finds guilty of crimethink.

Google is led by very strange people: on the one hand they claim to be a green company; on the other hand they fly around the world in their own private Boeing 767. I’d rather go back to using a pen and notebook than use its services.

Fortunately there is an alternative to the Google office suite: Apple. For now, Apple cares about user privacy. Hopefully that won’t change. If it does, I’ll go back to my pre-2015 way of life: a pen and paper todo list, an MP3 player, and a mobile phone that only makes phone calls.

  1. Writing notes by hand is better than typing them because you aren’t fast enough to write word-for-word. You have to summarize before writing and the summarizing leads to better understanding.