Terrorists use encrypted communications and their plans are encrypted to prevent authorities from knowing who they are, where they are, what they plan to do, and when. Encryption has become a problem for the good guys because bad guys use it to cause harm. So, it’s easy to see why governments want backdoor access to the encryption on iPhones and other smartphones. What if they had exactly what they want?
I’m Just Saying
What if Apple, Google, and Microsoft gave the governments exactly what they want; unfettered, unrestricted, backdoor access which would unlock the encryption they put on our smartphones (add Macs, PCs, and tablets to the mix)?
What would happen?
Nothing, other than the government would have access to whatever data, communications, photos, videos, or anything else we store on our iPhones, Macs, iPads, or other devices where encryption options exist.
Not long after the governments were given access to our devices someone would steal the backdoor keys and then they would spread throughout criminal and terrorist organizations worldwide, and it wouldn’t be long after that before malware began to infect computer devices all over the world.
Hmmm. That sounds familiar already.
The problem with this scenario, despite the obvious outcome, is that terrorists and criminals would still be able to encrypt their data and communications in ways the governments and hackers would not be able to open. Hundreds and hundreds of applications that encrypt files and communications already exist and are available for every type of computer, so even if a government snoop could open a terrorist’s or criminal’s iPhone with ease, there’s yet another layer or multiple layers of encryption that could not easily be opened, if at all.
So, what’s the point of unlocking the first layer of encryption on an iPhone if the bad guys have access to many apps that do the same thing and for which the government does not have backdoor access to unlock the encryption?
Government technology experts know this already, so the issue is not security; the issue is power. Government agencies and politicians want power over the people they protect and govern, and unfettered access to even the first layer of encryption on personal devices is a step in their direction.
If Apple, Google, and Microsoft gave the government backdoor access to the encryption the companies place on devices they sell, criminals and terrorists would not blink or give it a second thought because many other encryption options exist, and authorities cannot control them all.
Meanwhile, we’re wasting a substantial amount of time and effort chasing a goose that will not lay a golden egg.