Technology is being stymied by humanity. We are at a moral crossroad right now
BY THE TIME THIS ARTICLE IS OUT, Judgement Day would already have occurred. And by Judgement Day, I’m referring to the California District Court’s ruling on the court order demanding Apple develop a buggy version of iOS that will allow it to access data on a phone belonging to the San Bernardino shooters. Not that iOS doesn’t have bugs, but certainly not some backdoor that will allow the firm no holds barred access to everything on your phone. The good news is, that means your nude selfies are secure, even from Apple. The bad news is, we’ve finally reached a point in technological development where Mankind is now trying to take technology two steps back, in the name of security. The world is at risk from a 4.7-inch block of metal and plastic with a bit of circuitry in it.
Last year, we talked to a few tech experts about the key issues that the world would be facing, and one that kept popping up was security. Not only in the physical sense, which is literally why the FBI wants to access the phone’s data, but tech security.
It isn’t just Apple that is championing data security. Keygo, a Singapore-based startup which was conceived by Jamey Merkel, has double encrypted data which only the subscriber can unlock. Likewise, Telegram’s encrypted chats are considered to be the most secure in the world. For the hoi polloi, data security is important. Corporate espionage can kiss goodbye to easy access to data. But for intelligence organisations around the world, , it’s an effing nightmare.
Given our society’s McDonalds-sized appetite for data, and the “better be safe than sorry” (a.k.a kiasu) attitudes of most security agencies, it’s no surprise that data analysts are in high demand in these intelligence operations today. Someone has to sift through the endless reams of information, look for triggers and figure out which ones are valid and actionable, and which ones are hot air translated into bits of information. With their over-protecctive attitudes (take for example the Egyptian student in the US who made a Facebook threat against Trump and is now being asked to leave the country after being expelled from his school, one wonders if the reaction would have been the same if the statement was made by an American) towards perceived threats, sourcing information has to be a priority.
That’s when the data paranoia begins. In fact, I frequently wonder how often I must appear on the radar of some intelligence group given the sort of work I do. Each day, we mount endless searches on all sorts of information from criminal investigations to questionable dressing. Surely once in a while, the queries must trigger something in a database. It does beget the big question: just how much information is there on you out there in the World Wide Web?
What are your options? You can hire one of those experts to clear out your data banks and rid all evidence that you existed on the Internet, or just own up to it. That five seconds of pain will be go much quicker than if it pops up on some IT audit later. But here’s our suggestion: don’t watch porn on the company laptop, take the five seconds to wipe your data caches weekly and try not to use your credit card online. Cash and Paypal works wonders. Enjoy.
I frequently wonder how often I must appear on the radar of some intelligence group given the work I do