6 Biggest Technology Controversies Over The Years

Dhir Acharya - Feb 19, 2021

6 Biggest Technology Controversies Over The Years

From the Nokia fake ad video to the TikTok ban, here are the 6 biggest technology controversies over the years.

The technology world is not just about phones, computers, and gadgets as there are a lot of things involved in the process like the business relationships between tech firms and the promotion of phones, just to name a few. It’s easy to see that things don’t always go smoothly, there are ups and downs, and there are controversies. In this post, we will list the 10 biggest technology controversies over the years.

Nokia fakes ad

In late 2012, Nokia introduced the Lumia 920 and released an advertisement video that highlighted the video quality and the Optical Image Stabilization feature. The ad video looked brilliant, the image q2uality and the OIS tech seemed out of this world.

However, the company faked that video. Under a thorough examination, in the video, there was a reflective surface revealing that the advert was shot with a professional camera crew and a proper setup instead of the Nokia Lumia 920. After that, Nokia entered the damage-control mode.

The company then apologized, saying that the advert was not meant to mislead but rather to simulate the effects of the OIS tech. Nokia also released another video shot by the actual phone and showcased the technology. This must be one of the worst controversies ever.

Snowden blowout

Privacy and security have always been two of the most controversial debate topics of all time. And it’s now news that the US spies on everyone around the world, which has been featured in several fictional works. It became so common when there were reports of spying incidents in the media, no one bothered to care.

That all changed when Edward Snowden leaked several classified documents to the media. What made this case different from previous reports was that this man worked for the NSA and previously the CIA. Both software and hardware backdoors reported existed in a bunch of products manufactured by US firms.

As the documents came to light, the German government released an advisory, urging German firms to avoid using US-made software products and services. The US even forced the Bolivian President’s plane to land when there were rumors that Snowden might have been traveling with him.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

Mobile benchmark cheating

GFXBench and Antutu are among the most popular software used for comparing mobile phone hardware. So, when a Samsung smartphone got a spectacular score, people got skeptical because there were other models with similar hardware that did not score that well. What technical issues were there?

As a result, someone used the same benchmark software but change the name of the phone to see if the score checked out. This time, however, the device did not get the same score even after multiple runs. Then, when Samsung’s firmware was analyzed, it was found to contain a little script increasing the capabilities of the processor just for benchmarking software.

As this information was disclosed, people began doing the same thing with other phones and found that ASUS, LG, and HTC cheating in the same way. These phones were then de-listed by the benchmarking firms.

Mobile benchmark
Several manufacturers were found to cheat on benchmarking software

Silk Road takedown

To be clear, we are not talking about the ancient silk trading route but a marketplace on the dark web. Essentially, it was a website where people could engage in all illegal activities like buying foreign currency, narcotics, high-calibre weapons, and even hiring assassins.

The FBI was after Silk Road for years primarily for the illegal trading of narcotics before they were able to zero in on the culprits. This was successful partly because most transactions used anonymous crypto-currencies. When the FBI took it down, they also destroyed a huge chunk of the dark web and dismantled as many TOR routers as possible.

These technology controversies all took place before 2014, and now, we want to take you to a more recent period, from 2019 until the present.

silk road
Silk Road was taken down but Silk Road 2.0 was created

China controls the world

Among the controversial topics 2019, this may sound political to many, it is very much related to technology. In 2019, the world witnessed the heated Hong Kong protests, during which Western firms had to choose between zipping their mouths and raising their voice for justice. Companies consist of humans, of course, meaning there were different opinions.

In late 2019, one of the largest gaming developers in the world, Blizzard, banned a high-profile gamer for saying his pro-HK opinions on a tournament victory speech. While this action caused outrage in the gaming community, the developer remained silent and stood by its controversial decision.

TikTok took a hit

When talking about 2020, COVID-19 must be the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind, but there were a handful of tech controversial topics 2020 as well, including the incidents around TikTok – one of the most popular social platforms in the world.

Last year, the world witnessed a huge wave of displeasure against Chinese apps and software, including TikTok under fire for the same reason why Huawei was blacklisted in the US: security.

In early 2020, the US government and security researchers accused the platform of acting as a hive for Chinese malware as well as information spying. Worse, TikTok users in the US even bought out seats in Trump’s rallies and the troll succeeded.

After that, the US government order TikTok to find a US buyer or get out of the country. The Chinese company tried to find a buyer with talks with Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. But Oracle won to acquire TikTok.

5f2469304e52b7299733a8ed Compressed

So, these are some of the biggest technology controversies in the early 2010s and more recent years. For technology controversial topics 2021, we would have to wait until the end of this year and see what issues come up.

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