Russell Brand was a professional comedian but over the last couple of years has turned into a culture critic and a political pundit, a kind of hippie Christopher Hitchens.
This week Brand hits back hard at Apple’s plan to install software on everyone’s iPhone to look through photos (and perhaps other data) for evidence of child pornography. Brand insists that while the ostensible goal of this surveillance is laudable, once political authorities have a foothold to monitor data, they will search for any opposition. The temptation is too great.
The most powerful quotation out of the video comes from Snowden.
Apple is rolling out mass surveillance to the entire world with this. Make no mistake: if they can scan for kiddie porn today, they can scan for anything tomorrow. They turned a trillion dollars of devices into iNarcs—without asking.
What’s very suspicious about this surveillance rollout is that it comes just after Tim Cook’s final tranche of Apple stock vested and Tim Cook just sold $300 million of Apple stock. With his money in the bank doesn’t need to worry what overt surveillance (as opposed to covert) will do to Apple’s market share.1
Brand’s production techniques are quite clever. He’s got a static camera in place with an organic and real background to his courtyard (it’s not a dead studio). He cuts away to simple slides with the text which he is talking about or reading for visual variety. After that Brand relies on mimicry to liven his simple spoken essays.
The different personas to characterise elements of British society include a sort of polite and helpless London iPhone owner vs a lower class but connected with security private Bobby. As the second voices menaces, one is reminded that fifty years ago men like that were more likely to have been connected the Krays than security organs.
Brand would look more credible if he’d shave or at least trim his beard and wear a collared shirt or at least long sleeves. Perhaps it’s Brand’s technique to disarm the woke by looking like them. But 10/10 for managing to reinvent himself as a serious pundit after a life which included starring in the louche if hilarious Get me to the Greek (2010) and tormenting his ex-girlfriend’s grandfather with smutty phone calls.
At least Brand understands that a surveillance state, where security organs enjoy powers like the KGB and the Gestapo, is no laughing matter.
Alec has been helping businesses succeed online since 2000. Alec is an SEM expert with a background in advertising, as a former Head of Television for Grey Moscow and Senior Television Producer for Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia.