End-to-end encryption seems to be in a race between device makers and lawmakers. Here in the U.S. and in the U.K., government officials want access to encryption through various back door means. Hopefully, cooler and more reasonable heads will prevail thanks to a dose of reality to occurs with too much regularity.
Hackers, whether criminals, or government sponsored, seem to find a way to access corporate, government, and personal data with ease. Sometimes the hacks are simple ransoms to be paid to free the data. Other times, such data can be used to spread misinformation and disrupt public elections. Corporate and government espionage gets rolled in their, too.
You know the Russians and Chinese don’t like end-to-end encryption but they’re not alone. The same holds true for many in government power in the U.S., thanks to increased terrorism and authorities who have encountered trouble accessing such encrypted files in iPhones and other devices,. Thankfully, a few more reasonable and enlightened people understand the problem of requiring backdoor access into encryption methods– innocent people and corporations could still be hacked if backdoor keys are captured, while criminals, hackers, and government-sponsored hackers will simply use encryption that cannot be accessed.
There is legislation promoted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs to grant EU citizens the right to use end-to-end encryption in all forms for digital communications. Why? To prevent unauthorized surveillance. The U.K., still a member of the EU, wants those backdoors.
That would mean Apple and others who provide end-to-end encryption to ensure messages remain private– Messages, WhatsApp, Telegram, and many others– either could not be used on devices, or their publishers would have to cough up appropriate access to authorities.
Apple is engaged in that fight for a variety of reasons. We depend upon Apple to make our private information secure from access by any authority, government, or anyone else who would use such information to our harm.
I don’t think such totalitarian efforts will prevail because reasonable minds know that those who want to secure their information from prying eyes will simply use encryption that the government or hackers cannot access. That toothpaste is out of the tube.
That brings me to another issue and that involves Apple and Google and others who prey upon users to access private information. Gmail and Google apps are free, but there is a cost because the company tracks users, gathers or culls information about those users, and sells it to advertisers for profit. Apple helps by making Google the default search engine on Safari. Apple also helps by integrating Facebook on iOS. Apple is complicit in the same tactics for tracking users and culling their personal and private information (and, no, clicking on and agreeing to privacy policies that are seldom read does not count) for profit.
On one hand Apple fights a fine fight against those who would invade our privacy; including government authorities. Good for Apple. But the company remains complicit in a similar battle for personal information waged by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other online advertisers and trackers. Bad, Apple. Bad.