I’m going to call it The Coming Security Apocalypse because governments the world over, in a desire to be safe from terrorists and terrorism will make everyone’s access to the internet, to e-commerce, and even to your own files, even less secure than they are today. Despite the changes on the horizon, the world will not be a safer place, you will not be safer, and in fact will be less secure.
A Door For One
For the past few years we’ve heard government officials decry the use of end-to-end encryption, specifically on iPhones, Android smartphones, and other devices which we use and depend upon, but which can be used by criminals and terrorists to accomplish their dastardly deeds.
We’re told we have nothing to fear by giving the government backdoor access to our encrypted devices, but human history is littered with such lofty excesses. Backdoor access to your iPhone means the government can, whenever it wants, find out what’s on your phone. Once criminals and terrorist have the same access– and they will because secrets are hard to keep– then the threat is doubled.
Giving governments access to your personal information without cause is not only illegal in many countries, and should be illegal in society in general, it’s also immoral. Why? Isn’t backdoor access to private data foolproof?
It would be if fools were not so ingenious. And elected to public office.
The scenario is simple and straightforward. If governments force device manufacturers to provide backdoor access to encrypted data on your devices, then terrorist and criminals have already won. How so?
First, they will find a way to gain the same access (has the government ever kept a secret?), then your personal and private information is not safe from anyone.
Second, the intent to access potentially vital personal communications and information from terrorists and criminals seems lofty and valuable but simply ignores human behavior. Said terrorists and criminals will start using devices prohibit access, and use applications to communicate with one another and store data that is encrypted and does not have a key to unlock it.
21st century, meet Whack-a-Mole.
If this trend toward insanity continues, no citizen will be safe from governments, terrorists, or criminals, whereas now, a fully encrypted, locked, and nearly impossible to hack iPhone is secure from everyone. Giving the government (or, allowing the government to take) access to citizen communications and data means no one is safe from tyranny.
A proposed law in my home state, if it passes and is implemented, will result in commercial and security chaos. The security apocalypse will begin. New York politicians propose that all smartphones sold in the state must able to be unlocked and decrypted. Smart people– and terrorists, criminals, and hackers– will buy their iPhones in New Jersey or Connecticut. Apple may even stop selling iPhones in New York. Those who buy their devices in New York will simply be at the mercy of government spooks, at first, then, once the backdoor key is available, at the mercy of hackers. Meanwhile, terrorist and criminals will move on to a device that is not able to be decrypted, which means they will continue to do their deeds, while everyone else is less safe than before.
The coming security apocalypse is near. Are you ready?