(Big) Brother, Where Art Thou?

Well, I’m hiding in plain sight in your iOS 13.5/Xcode 11.5 smart phone updates, that’s where!

A notification popped up on my iPhone XR this afternoon. Yet another OS update…is it me, or are these things coming a mile a minute these days?  Like a dutiful little lab rat, I hit the download button, after which, I decided to read through the “new features in this update” because…full disclosure…I get excited when they add new emojis.

Much to my chagrin, the update was chock full of some very ominous offerings.

In addition to a mask-friendly FaceID login, the new update introduces, “The Exposure Notification API to support COVID-19 contact tracing apps from public health authorities.” Awesome…cuz that doesn’t sound Orwellian AT ALL, does it?!

Kif Leswing, in a CNBC article entitled, “Apple and Google Release Test Version of Coronavirus Tracing Software,” explains this contract tracing application in detail. Rather than reiterating what he has already eloquently written (far better than I could hope to) you can check his article out here.

In a very non-techie nutshell, Leswing explains:

This software will power apps that do ‘digital contact tracing’ or, as Apple and Google call it, ‘exposure notification.’ These apps will provide notifications to users that they may have been exposed to someone infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus, without collecting or sharing data about their identities.”

And if you believe there will be, “no collecting of sharing data about their identities” — I have a shovel to sell you (one that will be needed to un-dig yourself out from underneath the prodigious pile of putrid poo-poo that just got dumped on you).

OH NO! I’ve Already Downloaded the Update!

No worries. I was able to go into my settings and delete the update—restoring my settings to the 13.4.1 version. To do this on an iPhone, go to

(1) Settings
(2) Select iPhone Storage
(3) Locate and tap the iOS Storage software
(4) Select Delete Update and confirm that you want to delete it.

As we all know, ignoring or refusing to update iOS upgrades on iPhones will eventually bog your phone down, causing the system and apps to open, run slowly, or crash. They pretty much force you to keep up with the updates, knowing that the average person cannot delay their gratification for much for than 30 seconds without succumbing to a rage.

For those of you who held on to your stimulus checks…or who have $750-$2000 burning a hole in your pockets…Purism has unveiled two smart phones that boast U.S. sourced and made hardware.

“The Librem 5 represents the opportunity for you to take back control and protect your private information, your digital life through free and open source software, open governance, and transparency. The Librem 5 is a phone built on PureOS, a fully free, ethical and open-source operating system that is not based on Android or iOS.”

All the Purism products can be viewed and pre-ordered here (available Q3 2020). I am neither advocating for, nor advertising for this company. There are other open source phones on the market as well. I am merely pointing out the one I know about to inform you that we have options and we do not have to consent to the “Pocket Police” tracking us 24/7 through an Android or iOS device.

Let’s stop letting Big Brother do all the watching, and start watching out for each other.