The Encryption Kerfuffle

nsa

Anyone paying even slight attention to the news in recent years will have noted that our government specifically the NSA has been reading our mail and the mail of many folks overseas with what amounts to complete impunity. Regardless of any 4th amendment rights in the name of stopping terrorism and catching predators our privacy rights have been routinely and massively violated.

In a logical response to these actions Apple and Google have both released operating systems which encrypt content and communication to and from our smart phones. Without access to the passcode on the devices neither The feds, Apple or Google would be able to routinely decrypt the data.  These changes have led to calls from various off our data overlord to make these operating system changes essentially criminal.

Encryption isn’t new, if you could be bothered to do it, it’s been available from a wide variety of sources for a long time and none of those suppliers have been prosecuted for doing that so far. All Apple and Google are doing is making that the default rather than the exception.  If bad actors could get tough encryption before and they weren’t already using it, presumably this change will only protect the dumb and lazy bad actors. What it does do is it makes it harder for the NSA to conduct massive unwarranted collection programs against US citizens.

I for one am heartily sick of being routinely spied on and over policed by the people we pay to protect and serve.  I realize that in so saying I’m in danger of coming of as one of the right-wingnuts I excoriate on a regular basis…but really! Had the government shown any shred of decency or reasonableness in recent years I’d be less keen to take this line. However they have routinely used new technology, a flagrant disregard of our privacy rights and hackneyed and vague threats to tear up the constitution. They weren’t able to get the affordable healthcare site up on time but man they are great at listening in at massive scale.

So by all means make our phones and email much more secure, or at least secure enough so that the government will have to play by the rules it devised for itself to spy on their own people enmass. Just because you may have nothing to hide does not make it OK for our overlords to routinely check out what may or may not be going on in our lives. Get a warrant and make the case or leave us alone.

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