Applaud Apple and Others for Standing Firm on Privacy

 Applaud Apple and Others for Standing Firm on Privacy

With them at the forefront, I can’t think that anyone else will acquiesce

Yes, all sorts of crime makes use of encryption to shroud criminal activity. Yet encryption is also important in both business and personal communication. It’s important for political dissidents in oppressive regimes, important for medical records, important for any communication where the content is nobody else’s damn business.

Fortunately, Apple, Google, Meta and other companies oppose the bill that would allow this. Apple has gone so far as to say that they will remove FaceTime and iMessage from UK devices rather than comply and others have implied as much.

With all this opposition, I would think the UK will have to back down. I can’t imagine UK iPhone users suddenly switching to another platform if Apple had to pull their apps. I also can’t imagine that Google and Meta  would not join Apple by removing their affected apps. Users would be very angry about that.

The people who will be voting for this bill will have to face those angry people, but they themselves also will suffer — they need privacy in their own on-line activity. The bill has already been slightly modified, but not enough to meet Apple’s and others objections.

I’m not a strong privacy advocate. I don’t think surveillance cameras in public places are an invasion of privacy — if you are in public, other people can see you, so how do cameras make that any different? This is different. You have an expectation of privacy when you seal a letter in an envelope. The only difference between an envelope and a text is that an envelope is easy to steam open and an encrypted message is not. 

I know that this opinion will not be popular with everyone. It could cost me readers and supporters. I also realize that readers outside of the UK, and especially those in the United States, may not care about this because they think “it can’t happen here.” Yes, it can, and the successful passage of this bill in the UK strengthens that possibility. I do not want to live in a world where my communications can be monitored by police or anyone else. Do you?

But what about the children? Don’t we want to protect them?

Yes, we do, and advances in quantum computing could make it possible to break encrytion. If and when that happens, get a warrant and break in. For now, do the detective work that will make the case another way. 

It’s also possible to detect patterns in encrypted data that suggest criminal activity. Law Enforcement has always had to deal with secrecy; this is no different.

Perhaps some day we can directly deal with the mental problems that cause criminal behavior of all kinds. Imagine if that were true! 

Apple slams UK surveillance-bill proposals

The technology giant says it could remove services such as FaceTime from the UK over potential changes

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