Backdoors and Magic

Over at TechCrunch, Jon Evans has a brilliant article entitled Technology Is Magic, Just Ask The Washington Post. In it, he lays waste to the Washington Post's call for Apple, Google, and others to implement back doors that only law enforcement can access. It doesn't matter, it appears, how often experts that actually, you know, understand the technology and issues involved tell them this isn't possible. The experts' opinions are dismissed as, “The tech sector does not seem so inclined.” As Evans points out, these people are technologically illiterate and their opinions on technical matters have no weight. Indeed, he says they shouldn't be expressed at all.

Other than the sheer enjoyment of watching Evans eviscerate the uninformed rantings of pompous fools who have no idea what they're talking about, the average Irreal reader won't find anything new in the article but Evans makes a point that we don't hear often enough: the ship has already sailed on encryption. Even if we give law enforcement the back doors they're asking for, bad guys will continue to use strong encryption without back doors. The software is out there as open source, it's easy to get, compile (if that's even necessary), and use. While the rest of us are getting our bank accounts hacked, any random crook or terrorist will be able to happily send encrypted messages that law enforcement still can't read.

This is an obvious fact and the FBI—which does, after all, employ intelligent people—surely knows it. One wonders, then, what the point is. If you have the nasty, suspicious mindset favored by the Irreal Cabal, you might conclude that the point is to be able to sift through the data of wholly innocent people looking for evidence of wrong doing. Enervated as it is, we still have the Fourth Amendment and I say, “No thanks” to the FBI.

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