'Dateline NBC' Investigation Sheds Light
on Another Serial Offender: Apple Jacks

iPod Owners Who've Unwillingly had to Say 'Cheerio' (Bye) to Their
Music Players Want Apple's Direct Help in Recovery Process


by Joe Leo, Columnist


NEWS: (8.02.07)-- iPod thefts are on the rise and short of people simply losing their portable music player and their precious music--which would only be a small problem--the problem is becoming so big that a few people have lost their lives over it, schools are banning its use on campus (for safety reasons, not cheating), and? It's finally gotten the attention of Dateline NBC.

On last night's edition of the NBC newsmagazine, in a hidden camera investigation entitled, "To Catch an i-Jacker," the focus was on a different kind of predator. The one out to get your iPod.

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At first glance, it seems to be just another publicity-generating report that glorifies Apple Inc. and further emphasizes the reason for its recent resurgence: the iPod. Chris Hansen, Dateline NBC's correspondent and up-and-coming "celebrity" (due to various hidden camera investigations shedding light on hot topics) pushes that agenda with his descriptions.

"The iPod... it's everywhere! With a staggering 110 million sold, the device has become an international icon and is an indispensable part of life," Hansen says. He describes the music player as a, "high-tech marvel" that's worth it's weight in gold.

It's such an icon that, according to Hansen, it's given birth to a new word. "i-Jacking."

The report that begins praising Apple with adjectives that put the company on a pedastal, creatively mixed in with the iPod ad music in the background, along with the colorful ads themselves--plus nano versions of the mp3 players doing a merry-go-round on the screen--turns into a somewhat publicity nightmare for Cupertino when the introduction is over.

Though Dateline's focus primarily sheds light on a possible solution, issues such as a company's accountability, invasion of privacy issues, and other customer complaints surface as a result of the hidden camera investigation and reports.

They buy a supply of new iPods to use as bait, but include in the package, their own installation CD that contains special tracking software that will inform Dateline of the thieves' location. Hansen says that they don't know if Apple has access to information, personal information, like they had access to when thieves installed Dateline's modified software CD.

"If we were able to track iPods, could Apple do the same to track iPods, or something else? iPod owners do," says Hansen.

He points out that when an iPod is registered by the user, Apple has the serial number of the device along with the owner's basic personal information. Whenever the user wants to add new songs/content to their device, they go to iTunes and must enter personal information--password, username, credit card information--in order to continue.

And therein lies the possible solution that irate customers have proposed. They believe that Apple has the power to track and locate stolen iPods because of the iPod's interface, from registering the product to adding new content to the device. All customers want is just a simple solution that they hope/wish, and are asking Apple to take.


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