Apple, iPhone, privacy and the waning use of cash
by Bill Osler - 1/19/08 11:37 AM
I found this disturbing:
Apple, hackenomics, and the waning anonymity (and obsolescense) of cash | Berlinds Testbed | ZDNet.com
People looking to walk into an Apple retailer and buy an iPhone with cash will be out of luck. The company is now accepting only credit or debit card payments for the devices so that it can track who purchases the phone, according to an employee at the Apple Store in New Yorks SoHo neighborhood.
The new policy is Apples attempt to prevent people from purchasing and then unlocking and reselling iPhones, a situation that has been a problem for the company. Apple wont let anyone without a credit card or debit card in their name purchase iPhones, according to an unidentified Apple Store employee in a phone interview.
I'll be the first to admit that insisting on buying an iPhone with cash raises all kinds of red flags. Similarly, I find it hard to imagine any legitimate reason for Apple to insist on using a credit card for purchasing an iPhone. Furthermore, my understanding is that it would be a violation of their merchant agreement to keep the credit card information for any purpose other than completing the specific sales transaction. This policy strikes me as intrusive. Corporate Suits (not, strictly speaking, Big Brother) are watching.
It doesn't affect me at all. I don't use AT&T for my cell service, I don't need an iPhone and I buy essentially everything with my credit card ... but I don't like the thought that somebody is removing options that I SHOULD have. Last time I looked (ie, just now) every bit of currency in my wallet says "THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE"