Apple once had a reputation as a “progressive” alternative to the capitalist behemoth Microsoft. If that was ever the case, it seems to have transformed itself into a thuggish company that easily tramples upon individuals’ rights when convenient. In addition to repeated reports of Apple censorship of what aps users of its iPad can install, there are now reports of Apple “investigators” raiding someone’s house and computer, with the collusion of San Francisco police, because they claim to have tracked a missing iPhone prototype to that house.
While Apple investigators apparently obtained permission to search the house, the fact that they did not identify themselves as private investigators and were accompanied by SF police who did identify themselves raises disturbing questions as to whether this permission was implicitly coerced. Also problematic is the claim, that during the raid, the Apple investigators threatened the resident, 22-year old Sergio Calderón:
The visitors also allegedly threatened him and his family, asking questions about their immigration status. “One of the officers is like, ‘Is everyone in this house an American citizen?’ They said we were all going to get into trouble,” Calderón said.
In this unusual collusion between Apple agents and SF police, the police identified themselves, while the Apple investigators actually entering the house never identified themselves as private investigators:
One of the officers left a phone number with him, which SF Weekly traced to Anthony Colon, an investigator employed at Apple, who declined to comment when we reached him.
Reached this afternoon, Calderón confirmed that only two of the six people who came to his home actually entered the house. He said those two did not specifically state they were police officers.
However, he said he was under the impression that they were all police, since they were part of the group outside that identified themselves as SFPD officials. The two who entered the house did not disclose that they were private security officers, according to Calderón.
In an additional indication that something fishy occurred, for 24 hours the SF police denied that there was any record of police involvement in a raid. Then records mysteriously appeared.
As Talking Points Memo says about this incident:
]I]t raises the question of whether SFPD has assisted Apple before, off-the-books, how many times, and in what capacities. We’ve reached back out to SFPD with these questions and will update again when they respond.
TPM has raised these questions with SFPD. We’ll see if they get a response.
This incident is another indication of the extent to which police serve as agents of corporate interests. It also illustrates the lengths to which Apple will go, largely to protect its corporate mystique. Apple, rather than being an alternative company, is now the epitome of the worst of corporate America.
By the way, the phone was not found in the house, despite Apple’s claims.
September 3rd, 2011