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You know that protecting your privacy is a joke, right?

November 23, 2015

Given the state of current events, there’s a lot of ink and hot air both for and against having private businesses, like Google, Facebook and Apple allow the government access to their encryption technology for surveillance purposes.

Predictably, the argument against it is that we as individuals have an inherent right to privacy, and that right extends to private business entities and their intellectual property.

So, just how safe are you from being spied upon?

If you own an internet/WIFI-capable device of any kind, virtually the whole world can and probably does spy on you.

And mostly, you’re all right with it.

The idea that Google or any other SAAS provider, developer or retailer cares about your privacy makes for good PR, but rings hollow in the face of reality.

Almost any device, including your car, can be taken over and used to track what sites you visit, where you shop, what kind of wine or laundry soap you purchase, and even when, where and how far you drive. In fact if your device has a camera, it could record more about your life than you would ever tell even your BFF.

That’s called market research, but it is still spying.

Of course there are also far more nefarious applications out there. Anyone with a few dollars a month can use them and that’s just the ones we know about.

Which makes the high moral tone that Google or any other software developer or SAAS retailer takes when asked to provide law enforcement access to or exception from their encryption technology sound very self-serving at best and downright fishy at worst.

How does that saying go…if you have nothing to hide, why would you care?

It’s kind of ironic that we stand in line for days to buy the latest and greatest electronic gadgetry, when all of these devices are configured to extract as much identifiable information as possible so someone can try to sell us something else we probably don’t need and can’t afford.

Add to that the very real fact that if encryption and intrusion detection technology really worked, hackers would be out of business and we could use one credit card for life. Still, it’s probably slightly better than nothing at all for the average Joe.

But when the government wants to use that technology to protect us, well, that’s apparently a whole different ballgame.

That’s partially the government’s own fault. Unlike organized crime or terrorists, the government gets caught misusing the information they acquire often enough that we know there are bad actors in the system.

Let’s face it, nothing about government (except the “free money” it doles out) is very popular.

Government is widely thought to be overbearing, corrupt, inefficient, greedy and most of all, ineffective at protecting us. Hating government is embedded in our psyches at almost a genetic level.

If that’s your main beef with allowing the government to track or penetrate blackhat or dark net  websites, that’s at least an understandable reaction.

Added to that is even when our government is staring trouble in the face they fail to see or act on it, and you might be justified in thinking that whatever intel they get would be wasted anyway.

But objecting to it on the basis that you want to protect your privacy is just plain stupid. That ship sailed and sank more than 20 years ago. Get over it.

From → op-ed

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