The porn-freer, back in the day
Let's have a quick review, shall we? There's increased rage over Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's cavalier attitude towards privacy, and it turns out that back in his younger days he was calling people dumb fucks for trusting their info to him (I'm not jumping FB, but Adriel Hampton has an interesting post on why he is). Meanwhile, Steve Jobs wants to rid the world of porn. This comes after a legally shady and brutal raid fell upon a tech blogger who got ahold of an iPhone prototype.
Why does this all sound so terribly familiar?
Because from years "don't be evil" and "think different" tech companies, and the subcultures attached to their products, have pushed the idea that they were somehow a new and superior mutation. Here was the fusion of idealism and capitalism: they were going to build a better world while making piles of money at the same time. This pitch is not new: innovative industry always believes that it is somehow fundamentally different from its predecessors. Hence technologists who work for massive companies can tweet on about stopping "big business" from the latest outrage. They mean, of course, other big businesses, outside their sector.
So forget that old Apple ad. Tech companies are companies: their primary purpose is and always will be to make money and expand their own power. Often, like any company, they're not too picky about using harsh methods to do so or keeping their word. Trust and mercy aren't their primary purpose.
Further, it turns out tech companies are just as driven by their founders' egos and prejudices as they are by their personal ideals.
Traditionally, that's exactly why laws are developed to govern business and set the rules of the fight; to keep it from getting too out of hand.
One of my main gripes with the current course of Gov 2.0 and any number of other technologist projects is a blindness to this simple fact. The reason I believe technology (and those who make it) are best incorporated as part of a broader movement is because of the nature of the beast. It's not like the tools these companies create don't have a use, but depending on their altruism is foolish.
Something similar to what Jobs, Zuckerberg and the rest are doing was inevitable. Instead of shock, the reaction should be an effort to restrain the flaws of big businesses that are, at the end of the day, still big business.