Privacy vs Security
LXF: People discussing these things tend to conflate the meanings of ‘privacy’ and ‘security’. Thoughts? EMcH: As I said earlier, you don’t have a right to privacy in this country. And that’s a good thing. Privacy tends to go hand in hand with conspiracy, with racketeering, all kinds of bad stuff. The distinction I make when I give talks is that security is an absolute. If you’re going to claim that you have a secure system you must keep the bad stuff just as secure as the good stuff. It must not reveal anything about crimes just as it mustn’t reveal anything about personal indiscretions. Privacy can reveal crimes, but not personal indiscretions.
Privacy isn’t a right, nor is security. They’re both things that we trade off various things with the rest of the world to have. I like security: the stronger the security the better. And I like privacy, because I like to have a private life. But both of them have to have the caveat that at some point it is reasonable, in extreme cases, for a government to require certain access to things.
While I started off way over on the crypto-anarchist side when I was much younger, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a sustainable place. Until researchers start trying to solve this problem of having very light touch finegrained releases of data in response to court orders, we’ll be building the wrong digital future. The one that we can’t live in as humans. That’s my big philosophical point. It’s probably very misguided and someone will come up with an algorithm in 10 years’ time that will spot all those criminals before they ever try to do anything and then we can all have perfect privacy.