David Heinemeier Hansson

August 29, 2022

Don't keep all your digital services with one company

The crazy case of the father from San Francisco who lost all his email, contacts, pictures, apps, and phone number – everything else connected to Google! – because of a false accusation of child pornography by AI is not just terrifying, but a warning siren for all.

It connects directly to the case where Apple nuked the digital life of a customer with whom it thought it had a dispute over a billing issue related to a trade-in. Puff, iCloud gone, App Store gone, Apple ID accounts gone.

Because these are your only two choices, if you want to participate in modern society with a smartphone. You pick either Apple or Google, and if they decide to pick you back, you're just fucked. 

Even when proven wrong, Google and Apple feel under no obligation to correct their mistakes. The father from San Francisco had a police report exonerating him, but it made no difference. The judge, jury, and executioner had spoken, and the word was final.

This should make everyone think about what they might have to lose, if they run afoul of either of these monopolists. Even inadvertently. Even just trying to talk to their doctor about their kid. Or buy a new computer. 

Do you have some separation of your critical digital services?

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.