Since the time of Edward Snowden revealing that the governments of the world are spying on their citizens with their electronic devices and their mobile devices, encryption has become much more important. People don’t appreciate the idea that their information could be eavesdropped upon at any given time.
Since the expose of global spying on citizens electronically, a lot of people have adopted encryption methods. It’s safe to say that the governments of the world they were using these eavesdropping methods are now really unhappy that there spying techniques have been exposed and their abilities to just walk in and grab information easily has been taken away.
Over the past couple of months, there’s been a lot of discussion from government entities, officials and individuals from the perspective of using encryption. Citizens say that encryption is absolutely necessary for privacy. It’s expectation that consumers/citizens expect from the electronic devices they use. On the other hand, the various government entities want manufacturers that employee encryption methods to build in backdoors so that they can get to your personal information anytime they want. Obviously, this is a conflict of interest.
The whole purpose of encryption is to protect your personal information. Most people feel that the authorities don’t have the right to look through your mobile device/smartphone just because they want to. The expectation is that if you want to look through someone’s mobile device or smart phone, a warrant should be produced.
Yesterday, Apple published a letter to its customers about encryption. In the letter, CEO Tim Cook details out some points about the use of encryption and how dangerous it would be to build in a backdoor. Mr. Cook goes on to make some very good points about the use of encryption and why Apple has built into their devices.
The simple reality is that since people were made aware that their information was being openly eavesdropped upon, encryption has become much more of a necessity. They don’t want to be watched and they don’t want to have their lives pried into. It also gives users the ability to protect their private information against people who might still their phone or mobile device, and use that information for malicious purposes.
There’s an absolute legitimate use of encryption; it’s not just for devices. Google supports device encryption.
The Opposing Thought…
Since Edward Snowden, the governments of the world have been pissed extremely frustrated. Their jobs of surveillance and eavesdropping on conversations, and collecting information on everyone has gotten exponentially harder. Police and other authorities are now finding it more difficult to simply take someone’s mobile device/smartphone, crack it open, and take all the information off of it with very little effort. With more people using encryption, it’s making them very frustrated. They just don’t have the technical expertise to handle the various different encryption methods.
Now the police and other authorities are wanting companies that manufacture devices with encryption, they want them to put a backdoor on all the devices so that anyone can get information, for legal purposes.
As Mr. Cook points out in his use of encryption; it’s entirely possible to do that. A backdoor or a master key could be built into virtually any operating system to access all of your personal, private and encrypted information, but that defeats the whole purpose of encryption.
One of the main rises for encryption was to protect people’s privacy from governments that were overstepping their boundaries. Now you have the same entities going directly to the manufacturers and saying give me a master key.
I guess it’s simple to say coming from a simpleminded person; give me a master key to access all of the encrypted data. But for the rest of the people of the world t who deal with technology and understand encryption on a higher level, you’re asking for Pandora’s box to be opened. To say it bluntly, if there’s a master key to encryption, there is no encryption.
There are no security guards in place to say that this “master key” would never get released into the wild. If Apple or Google or anyone else were to create an encryption that had a backdoor, or a master key, that information would be invaluable. There would be a would be a line of people more than willing to pay lots and lots of money for that master key.
You have to have a lot of respect for Apple right now, and Tim Cook, for standing up for principle and saying, “no, this isn’t right.” Mr. Cook understands that there is more than just a couple of lines of code at stake here. If Apple was to compromise on its principles of maintaining encryption, it would be like watching dominoes fall. As soon as the first one falls, all the other ones will follow suit.
What Apple is doing is the right thing. They are fighting the good fight and if other companies that value encryption think the way Apple does, they need to stand up with Apple, unified, and say no.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let me know in the comments below…