“We’re no longer passive in our relationship with our devices” – Edward Snowdon speaking at the LibrePlanet event at MIT.
You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t seen any of the recent news coverage regarding U.S authorities demanding legislation for Apple to decrypt and provide back-door access to its iPhone operating system.
This week, whistle-blower Edward Snowdon suggested this was a “sham” and that “Respectfully, that’s horse sh*t.”
My opinion: we are at a pinnacle turning point in data security, technical democracy, internet freedom and, ultimately, civil rights. We are all entrusting the tech giants with teraflops of personal and private data of every aspect of our lives, and whilst the big three: Apple, Google and Facebook “claim” to have to actively want to protect our data from prying eyes including governmental and the intelligence agencies, we wouldn’t know if they were because of gagging orders and injunctions.
In February, Apple published a letter to “Our Customers” which opens with the bold statement:
“This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.”
Whilst I am not a tin-foil nut, I for one believe the words of Snowdon. His exposure of the existence of PRISM and Tempora (the clandestine surveillance programs) have been acknowledged by the US & UK governments respectively. If you haven’t heard of these programs I urge you to read the links above.
Are the tech giants on our side? Who knows? Google & Apple, two of the world’s largest companies have the power and money to influence people and politics, and ultimately control much of the world’s media consumption. The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron is no fan of encryption and feels it a threat to national security, whereas President Obama’s stance is not so clear.
All I know is that this current debate should be taken seriously and that unless we want to progress to the next stage of the Orwellian dystopia future, we, the people must rise up and act!
Whilst I believe intelligence gathering is important, I am a firm believer that our right to privacy prevails. Truth be told, technology has already vastly surpassed that envisioned by Orwell, but how much does the average Joe care?
For those wanting to secure their iPhones, check out Apple’s guide on data protection.
Thoughts by Joseph Patterson, addmustard’s Technical Services Director