In 2014, Edward Snowden blew the lid off much of the US government’s innermost secrets, at least when it comes to the extent at which the various US intelligence agencies are conducting surveillance of both its own and foreign citizens, inside and outside the US borders. Next, Apple released iOS 8, which basically locks down everything on your phone to the point where it’s impossible to reach without your passphrase. While those things may seem unconnected (or connected, if you’re into conspiracies), both of these things were, in fact, beneficial to your personal security. And we’ll tell you why.
Beyond being the main theme of this whole website, personal security is one of the most important human needs, second only to physiological needs (food and water… air, maybe. Those things.). That means, if your personal security is violated, or there’s not enough of it, that will have a significant impact on your quality of life. In a society, and in a time, when our phones have become repositories for everything from medical records to school records, email, payment information, cards, ID, and everything in between, our personal security is directly and solidly bonded to our devices.
In “the old days” (those over 30 might remember), people used to hire bank boxes, install safes in their houses or bury stuff in the back garden, if they wanted it to be safe. Photo negatives, jewelry, birth certificates, German DM bearer bonds – they were all kept in locked safes or bank boxes, and while you can’t store your bearer bonds on your phone, most of the other stuff is in there. The US is usually slow in implementing technology on an official level (people in the US still use checks to buy things with, FFS), but other countries already have secure login services to official records and electronic mail solutions, which makes the information on mobile devices even more valuable. They open doors, both literally and figuratively.
In short, encrypting your mobile device, is like installing a tamper proof, reinforced steel core door on your house – it’s going to take a really long time to get in, for someone who doesn’t have the key.
The FBI wants Apple to get them into a murderer’s cell phone. But, that phone, made by Apple, is encrypted. It’s locked with the same type of lock you’ve got protecting your sensitive information, your privacy, your life, your assets – your personal security. While the reason for the request may be honorable, the implications, should Apple relent, is horrendous. You have a massive, secure door to your house, your windows are barred and your assets, your life, is safe inside. Now, FBI wants the company who installed that door to make a master key, a device to open every door that company has installed.
Actually, that’s not very apt. The FBI wants the company who installed that door of yours, to install a second door. Made of paper. Right next to your steel core main door. Having a paper door to your house should make you think twice about your personal security. And, while the FBI says it’s for one time use, other people will see that door, and do what’s necessary to get to it, and tear through your paper door. And while the FBI says it wants to install that paper door only on the murderer’s house, so they can get in and take a look, the paper doors will be there, ready for use on any house, any life, any phone, the second it’s made for that “one case”.
Your safety and security is one of your basic needs, in order to maintain your quality of life, and perhaps even life itself. That’s why Apple has taken a bold stance against the FBI in this case, and it’s also why you should side with them in it. That aside, there are a number of things which you can do to protect your privacy, your safety and security, even in an always connected, always online world. While we here at SnallaBolaget rarely delve into IT security, we’re going to take a look at what you can do to protect your mobile devices, and your data, and in doing that, protect your personal security and safety as well – both online and offline, so to speak.
Stay tuned over the coming days, to see what the feds (or other criminals) don’t want you to know about protecting your data, your privacy and your life.