Dashing into Apple
I wasn’t going to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the Mac Store app Dash because I'm not a developer and, as such, have never used the app, though I was aware of its presence in the store.
I must admit from the onset, though, that I do have pretensions of becoming a developer myself one day. I purchased the entire L2Code (Learn to Code) Training Series from the App Store, and had even gotten a subscription to Lynda.com to aid in my attempt to teach myself Swift. I installed X-Code onto my sparkling (as sparkling as gray can be, anyway) new MacBook Pro despite the storage cost (I had foolishly thought 250 GBs more than sufficient for my needs; in fairness, I was upgrading from 19 GB—don’t ask) and my having absolutely no use for it, at least not yet. But soon. Or not: It was then that my life went from bad to shit.
But this isn’t my pity party; it's Dash’s.
I won’t rehash the facts of the feud as that's been done already by, as far as I can tell, literally every source of Apple-related news or discussion on the internet. Plus, it's old news by now, anyway. I was listening to Core Intuition with Manton Reese and Daniel Jalkut, episode 254, which was entirely dedicated to a discussion of the controversy. On one hand, the conversation was both entertaining and informative; I already knew the facts of the case, so they provided no new details, as I would expect, since they’re drawing from the same sources as everyone else. But it was still informative in the sense of adding perspective to the debate, fleshing out the complexity. Except, and you won’t hear me say this often about anything, I don’t think it’s as complex as they seemed to assume.
Most of the conversation was enthralling in that the co-hosts had taken stands on opposing sides of the debate. It was entertaining until it wasn’t. The sticking point for me is the manner in which Reece and others gloss over the central fact of the controversy, the crux upon which all else resides and revolves: that Kapeli was indeed tied to the fraudulent account. Not just tied, and this is crucial, responsible. Reece took issue with Jalcut’s supposition of Kapeli’s being responsible for the other account.
I could listen to no more. Yes, embarrassingly, I frustration-quit an innocuous podcast, of all things. Shamefully immature, no doubt, but I'm sure I was responding to the cumulative effect of other hosts and journalists.
In short, of course Kapeli is responsible! He opened the account in his own name, using his own credit card information. That he did so to help out a family member, and that said person may not have been able to procure a credit card for him- or herself are immaterial. If Apple was supposedly responsible for alerting all parties involved, then it follows that Kapeli was responsible for knowing about activity on all of his accounts. But I see no reason other than courtesy that Apple was obligated to do alert all parties. To do so would be to suggest that some parties are more guilty or responsible than others, but that’s not how things in life and law work.
If you co-sign for a car that your cousin is buying and your cousin subsequently stops making payments, you are responsible as well. You couldn’t lament damage to your own credit because you didn’t know your cousin was not making payments, or at least you'd have no reasonable (nor legal) grounds for such a lamentation. You knew or should have known exactly what you were taking on, what you were getting yourself into, what you were literally signing up for. How many spouses have suffered financial damage due to the partner’s irresponsibility? It is no valid argument to claim, But it wasn’t me! I didn’t know he’d gotten himself in debt.
Apple cannot be held to an unrealistic standard. I’ve taught middle school, and Reece’s logic is similar to that of a twelve-year-old boy who decries, “But he hit me first!” The boy is twelve, and so’s his assailant; he was fearful for neither life nor property. Fighting at school is against the rules, same as it ever was, and both boys were indeed involved in the fight. The one who sought revenge through fisticuffs had a moment in which to decide whether to engage physically with the other boy or turn and walk away.
That he felt he couldn’t turn the proverbial other cheek for fear of losing face in front of an audience of his peers is not pertinent. The teacher may be somewhat sympathetic; perhaps the instigator earns a more severe punishment. Regardless, the teacher is obligated to uphold the fundamental rule that fighting for any reason is unacceptable.
I can assure you if seventh graders sense inconsistency, they will first cry foul (“That's not fair!”), and soon after begin to exploit it. Inconsistent enforcement weakens the teacher's position.
Based upon the same principle, I don’t accept so-called excused absences from my university students. You weren’t in attendance—regardless of reason(s), you missed that day’s lesson. (I'm not a complete asshole, though: each student gets a set number of penalty-free absences.) If a Super Bowl team loses its star player days before the big game, the league doesn’t postpone the event; referees don’t spot that team compensatory points. No. The game is played as scheduled, with a beginning score of 0 to 0.
What’s more, I explain to my students, we’re all adults here. So I treat them as such. Do employers pay wages for missed days? Yes—provided the person used a sick or vacation day; no, if s/he had no such days to use and could only present an excuse. Does the particular excuse really matter in the end? Further, who am I to judge such things? I’ve had both a headache and a hangover, and they can both hurt badly, even really badly. It’s not my job to judge an individual’s morality, maturity, or character. Not to mention, an important component of being an adult, in my eyes, means never owing an excuse to any person, god, or government; choosing to give reasons is not the same thing as an excuse.
Can you imagine calling in sick to work and your boss demanding to know the details so she or he can judge its merits? “No, I'm sorry; a migraine simply isn’t good enough. Come on in to work right now. I've a feeling you’re lying, anyway. Admit it, you actually have a hangover. You look to me like the kind of person who gets hammered on a random Tuesday night. You get what you sow!”
It was Kapeli’s responsibility, not Apple’s, to keep himself in the loop. He knew or should have known what he was doing when he opened the developer account for someone, family member or not, about whose professional ethics he knew so little.