Apple founder's technology guilt complex

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, says he feels 'a little bit guilty' about creating the means for governments to spy on their citizens.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 08 Apr 2014
Poor Steve Wozniak. All the Apple co-founder is trying to do is make life for members of the human race that little bit easier – but then governments go and ruin everything.

In an interview with Piers Morgan (another reason to feel sorry for him), Wozniak – known as ‘Woz’ to his fans – said he feels ‘guilty’ about having created some of the technology that allowed the US government to spy on its citizens.

‘I actually feel a little bit guilty… but not totally,’ he said. ‘We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely.

‘We didn’t realize that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren’t. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it – you had private communication. Now they say that because it’s email it cannot be private. Anyone can listen.’

Wozniak also expressed his admiration of Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information about the US government’s Prism programme, saying he feels about Snowden ‘the same way I felt about [Pentagon Papers whistleblower] Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot’.  

Does all this admiration mean Woz is gearing up to engage in a little whistleblowing of his own? MT dreads to think what top-secret documents from Apple would reveal. Jony Ive’s secret fondness for Comic Sans, perhaps?

- Image: Flickr/The DEMO Conference

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