Behind the App Store Purge with John Bergmayer (Ep. 243)

Behind the App Store Purge with John Bergmayer (Ep. 243)

Behind the App Store Purge with John Bergmayer – John Bergmayer discusses how recent app store bans affect consumers.

John Bergmayer


John Bergmayer is Legal Director at Public Knowledge, specializing in telecommunications, media, internet, and intellectual property issues. He advocates for the public interest before courts and policymakers, and works to make sure that all stakeholders — including ordinary citizens, artists, and technological innovators — have a say in shaping emerging digital policies.


Bergmayer, J., 2020. Tending The Garden: How To Ensure App Stores Put Users First. [ebook] Washington, DC: Public Knowledge. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 September 2020].



Another crazy election cycle. Every 4 years we say it’s the most important election of a generation. But how do we measure that? Each election over the course of my lifetime has seemed pretty pivotal.

But despite the puffery to generate clicks and keep everyone reading all of the speculations about the probable outcome of this election, our reliance on technology, especially social media, which continues to increase, still underscores the necessity of reining in false propaganda with objective, evidence-based journalism. 

And that doesn’t necessarily always mean we have to choose between competing scientific claims. Most of these questions are simple. They don’t require any empirical analysis at all. When you encounter someone holding a weapon, you can tell right away by looking at that person whether it is an AR-15 or handgun. If a person goes to a Presbyterian church every Sunday for worship services, and has never set foot inside a mosque, is that person a disciple of Jesus Christ? Are Christianity and Islam both monotheistic religions or not? Is it raining or sunny? These are all close-ended questions.

We can obsess over China and Russia til the cows come home. But much of the perceived misinformation journalists have been responding to has purportedly come from American leaders themselves. The main question these journalists have focused on is also open-ended:  Has far more evidence demonstrated the safety of voting by mail over voting in person? The answer is “yes”. 

But still, the Trump administration continues to undermine the legitimacy of mail-in ballots despite the fact that, yes, while there have been isolated incidents of applications (not ballots) being mailed to the wrong address, and extremely rare instances of ballots sent to deceased individuals, these problems are by no means “widespread”, and the voting districts in question all had controls in place to prevent double-voting. Numerous studies, including a recent study by Stanford, demonstrate both increased voter participation and a negligible effect on votes for either party when voting districts permit mail-in ballots.

Not so for electronic voting machines. In fact, corruption alone undermines the legitimacy of electronically-submitted ballots as USPS boss Louis DeJoy has an estimated  $30 million investment in XPO, a USPS contractor, and has directed the removal of mailboxes and mail -sorting machines in key states! Other reports point to skepticism around where the components of voting machines were manufactured, with red flags raised by the fact that many are produced in Russia and China.

Forget the deep state–we’ve got a shallow state–people confusing us about the difference between fact and fiction, a distinction taught in elementary schools, right up here on the surface! Let’s deal with that problem. Let’s learn to snorkel before we jump right in trying to use scuba gear to find the “deep-state.”

Someone can be a forgetful senior citizen — a classification of people we used to *respect*, by the way — and still, stick to facts. Just like you can have someone whom we’ll say, just for the sake of argument, is lucid, but, at the same time, seems determined to lie to us–lies his or her constituents may even be willing to accept, for their gain. That’s the scary part.

When you combine an electorate that has lost faith in its electoral system with a Supreme Court moving to the right with originalist, textualist judges who adhere to words written exclusively by White men some 231 years ago, when slavery was still legal, women could not vote, and employers were free to exploit whatever source of labor they could find, without regard to their safety, forget a second Civil War. We’ve set the stage for a new Constitutional convention — one that arises not just from trivial things, such as taxes on tea and stamps — but from police brutality, corrupt elections, and an uneven playing field between those who have inherited dubiously-obtained assets under a presumption of “Manifest Destiny”, and those who haven’t.