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Friday, February 26, 2016

Privacy or Security…?

   Once again life is putting forth a serious question we all need to ponder as the answer will shape the future of our lives. The FBI has demanded Apple decrypt an iPhone belonging to one of the attackers involved in the San Bernardino assault. Apple has refused…so now the question is put before us all once again. Do we value our privacy over our security…?

   On one side of this, we are told that breaking into the phone could yield information that may prevent more acts of terrorism. Nobody can really call this a lie because it’s absolutely plausible that the phone is teeming with information that could help take out the bad guys. Surely the privacy of Syed Rizwan Farook (owner of the phone) is of no concern, since he was one of the bad guys. So how can the FBI’s request really be an issue of contention for Apple…?

   Well…on the other side of this Apple has said that to break into this one phone means that they would have to write script that breaks into all iPhones…and once written and released (to the FBI presumably) everyone that owns an iPhone will no longer have any privacy with it. I’m not a programmer of any kind so can’t speak to the truth of their statement. All I know is that’s what they are saying and that they are refusing to comply with a court order to decrypt the phone on that basis.

   There are a few things that jump out at me about all of this…on both sides of the issue.

   I have an iPhone (don’t ask which version, just know people call it an antique) but I don’t keep it updated and don’t have the issues I’ve heard others speak about such as automatic updating…that they sometimes do not want, and often cannot stop. It seems to me that the phones are already compromised…somewhat. 

   I also have trust issues when it comes to the government. I know such sentiments are considered dangerous in these troubled times, but what really makes these times so troubling is that more people don’t have the same issue I do trusting those in charge. The government is made up of people just like you and I that have the same shortcomings shared by the entire human race. How anyone can elevate them up to be beyond reproach affording them complete trust is beyond my understanding.

   Ultimately it comes down to what you value more…your privacy or your security.

   Unlocking an iPhone today could be another step toward the end of privacy tomorrow. Are we that scared of tomorrow that we will opt to do that…? We all should understand by now that fear can be used to compel action. How much of your rights you give up is dependent upon how terrified you are those rights are getting in the way of your security.

   Does anyone really want to live in a world like the one depicted on that new show “Colony?” Are we really so oblivious that we can’t see each freedom and right given up moves us one step closer to such a world…? While we sit here refusing to hold those tasked with administering order and safety accountable, do we really want to give them more power that they can abuse if they so wish to…?

   Are the bad guys really that good…or is our government really that bad…? I have to ask because we all know Big Brother is already watching, but yet still doesn’t seem to see anything. There are cameras everywhere now….literally. On every corner, on the side of buildings, above the doorways of businesses, on every traffic light…there’s a camera. We are under constant surveillance and still…things happen. 

   The whistle has been blown already about our government’s violation of our privacy…and we want to hang the blower for exposing them instead of asking why, with all of this, do they want more…? When will it be enough to stop the bad guys….?

   Do we have to give up all of our privacy to truly be secure….? If that is the case, then the bad guys aren’t the problem, we are…and the government isn’t the solution, we are.

Marinate on that.








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