This illustration featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook is in response to the recent plan by Apple Computers to scan the photos of everyone on their platform for child pornography. Due to a backlash from cryptographers and privacy advocates, Apple has put their plan on pause, which is unusual for a company like Apple. They haven’t cancelled the program however, so it’s very likely they will eventually proceed in some way.
For this illustration I wanted to reference the Super Bowl ad Apple Computers aired to tease the introduction of the first Macintosh way back in 1984. The ad was based on the dystopian novel “1984” by George Orwell, where every citizen was under constant surveillance by the government, even in their own homes. Apple’s commercial proclaimed Macintosh was why 1984 wouldn’t be like “1984”. Today we all have smart phones that can track our every move, and lots of us have smart home appliances featuring Siri or Alexa that are always listening and responding to our verbal commands and questions. These are eerie parallels to George Orwell’s vision of the future.
Apple’s plan is also reminiscent of the Patriot Act that was enacted after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. For those who are not familiar, the Patriot Act was a violation of the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment, which says the government cannot conduct a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime. Citizens of the U.S. were so traumatized by the terror attacks, that many didn’t see the problem with giving up a Constitutional right if there was a chance another attack could be stopped. We all want to do the right thing, but the allure of an easy fix could prove to be problematic in the future, and probably won’t be an effective long-term solution.
In the case of Apple Computers, they are not the government, but there is a very good chance Apple will be pressured by our government, and other governments, to conduct unlawful surveillance on average citizens. Most of us have a clear conscience about what we keep on our phone, but we shouldn’t give up our Constitutional rights in the hopes that it will keep us safe. How ironic that the company that promised a brighter future, unlike the one depicted in George Orwell's novel, might conduct unlawful searches on everyone using its products.
Above is the word association list I came up with to help spark ideas, as well as some of my thumbnails. The idea for using the Super Bowl commercial almost came too easily. I really had to keep exploring to make sure I wasn't overlooking a better concept. The idea for sketch 3 was to see if I could make the Apple logo look like some monster with an eye on top, and a mouth that blabs on you. Sketch 4 is an iPhone testifying in court. Sketches 5 and 6 play off of the George Orwell "1984" book motif of Big Brother is watching you, but incorporating Siri.
Above are some still images from the 1984 Super Bowl commercial.
I mostly used Adobe Photoshop to illustrate my image. I did however use Adobe illustrator for the shape and perspective of the iPhone, as well as the data overlay on the screen of the phone.
The rough sketch of Tim Cook was created in a separate file, then manipulated into place on the composition to get it to match the perspective of the screen.
I usually work in black and white, then add in the color later. It's easier to just concentrate on getting my values right first. I used a gradient map layer along with a couple of layers set to color to paint in spot colors. I also added some photographic texture overlays. The textures make the image more interesting, give it more depth, and keep it from looking too digital.