Angered by Apple’s Tim Cook’s defense of individual’s privacy and security, Congress has escalated the spy-wars that are dividing Washington and Silcon Valley. In its most directly totalitarian move yet, WSJ reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a proposal that would create criminal penalties for companies that don’t comply with court orders to decipher all encrypted communications.
The purpose of government is to uphold the Constitution, but the FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on Apple to defend their Constitutional rights, rather than the other way around.
Liberty Blitzkrieg’s Mike Krieger provides some much-needed background in the escalation of the crypto-wars:
One of the biggest debates happening at the intersection of technology and privacy at the moment revolves around the U.S. government’s fear that the American peasantry may gain access to strong encryption in order to protect their private communications. Naturally, this isn’t something Big Brother wants to see, and the “solution” proposed by the status quo revolves around forcing technology companies to provide a way for the state to have access to all secure communications when they deem it necessary.
Many technology experts have come out strongly against this plan. Leaving aside the implications of giving the lawless maniacs in political control such power, there’s the notion that if you create access for one group of entitled people, you weaken overall security. Not to mention the fact that if the U.S. claims the right to such privileged access, all other countries will demand the same in return, thus undermining global privacy rights and technology safeguards.
We are already seeing this play out in embarrassing fashion. Once again highlighting American hypocrisy and shortsightedness, as well as demonstrating that the U.S. government does’t actually stand for anything, other than the notion that “might means right.”