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OK, RIM. How about that 'public interest' audit?

We demand Always On Justice

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Opinion No one expects advertising to represent anything other than a glossy fantasy, but a TV campaign now running in the United States ought to win some kind of award for its disconnection with reality.

At the climax of this big budget 30 second spectacular, a white collar executive hands a female employee - presumably a new starter - a Windows Treo, with the promise that, "now your office is with you everywhere. How does it look?"

Instead of replying the only way one possibly could - by hurling herself through the nearest window - she mumbles something about it looking "pretty good".

The Stateside remake of Ricky Gervais's The Office has outlived the original premise - it's now into its third series - which tells us that white collar America is acutely aware of the demands and drawbacks of office life. So the advertiser's conceit that we want to take these psychoses into the most private corners of our lives is out of joint.

To the dismay of technology pushers, the public's enthusiasm for such intrusive technology is vanishing. More than 90 per cent of Britons surveyed recently said they were reluctant to adopt Wi-Fi wireless Ethernet because they dread the encroachment of work life into private time. When your office is "with you everywhere", even your family time doesn't really belong to you anymore - it's simply leased back to you through the generosity of a merciful employer. But if Toshiba, which sponsored this survey, can face up to this, why can't Verizon? Or Research In Motion?

Ten days ago, Research In Motion (RIM) made one of the most pathetic and contemptible defenses ever heard before a court of law.

Begging the Judge not to close down its proprietary BlackBerry email network, RIM played what was described as a "public interest" defense. RIM argued that its "always-on" email service played such a "crucial role" (its words) in the business of mammon and government, that irrespective of the merits of its case, the ultimate sanction of closing down its network must not be countenanced.

Judge Spencer wasn't impressed.

"You say there will be a catastrophic effect, and Western civilization will be shaken," he observed sarcastically.

RIM even mocked its opponent NTP for failing to provide a "public interest" defense of its own. Well, now that the deal is done, The Register must step into the breach. For if RIM can play the "public interest" card in keeping its network open - why can't the public respond in kind and highlight the drawbacks of such socially harmful technology, which is anything but in the public interest?

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