Encryption wars, Information War & Your privacy at stake
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
We didn’t set out to talk about cybersecurity and technology as much as we have, in fact we wanted to talk about the gig economy and finance, but every now and then we see a few articles out there that really grab our attention and make us concerned about the future.
The Internet is a great place as you and I, Boomers, millennials, people from every country can transcend borders and disseminate information across the web and spread innovation and spread free thought at virtually the speed of thought at a click.
Whereas many of the previous generations valued physical property, steady jobs, and often consumerism and 401k’s. The current generation including millennials and the next generation value respect, truth, and freedom of thought, freedom of sexual choice and sexual identities and also have a strong identity for digital property.
We are so interwoven into our iPads, tablets, cellphones and laptops now that they are our second eyes, ears and hands and brains and very few of us go without an Android or iPhone with us every day. We use it to do NFC pay and Apple Pay and use our phones as calculators, measuring devices, diet trackers. We have Fitbits and Garmin GPS watches and sometimes with our Apple devices even use it to do something basic like tell time!
Bill Gates ushered in the software and hardware for businesses while Steve Jobs ushered in the personal digital consumer devices for individuals. Without these two pioneers we would never had some of the innovations we have today. Along the way of course we have Linus Torvalds and the Free Open Source Software community and GNU / Linux community and integration of other big players like Google and Facebook and Myspace and social media killer apps like Jack Dorsey’s Twitter to make people crave and “must have” their phone on their person at all times. If it wasn’t for the built in location, cellphone and wireless inventions and audio-compression technologies and gyroscopes on the devices that all fit together like a puzzle into one single mega-super device we would never be at the carry-on cellphone device we have.
But why is this important?
Because more than ever your identity is tied to your phone and tied to all your devices and all your equipment. Every device, every network, every cellphone has a unique identifier whether it be an IP address or MAC address or other SIM card linked IMEI numbers that make you outted into the open.
And with the “new kids on the block” that want to put all data on the blockchain and digitize all art, pdf’s, word documents, medical information, job information, job search, and money. It’s even more important than ever that we have a right to protect that information.
People have used cash through the ages to pay for things and transfer and barter and exchange services and goods such as purchase TV’s and couches and pay for rent and tip their barber.
Society wants you to feel bad and guilty about owning money and that money is dirty or a bad thing and that you’re being greedy. But there’s nothing wrong with having money or anything else. Just as you shouldn’t feel bad owning several pairs of shoes, or several hammers and a box of nails. Do you ever thing that those that try to push you down into thinking you shouldn’t have as much is because they don’t want you to have it or that they want to control more of it? People that are successful have a different mentality and don’t have that same negative thinking that “I have a lot of things and must feel guilty”. No instead, they know that they worked hard for it at work and they are deserving of a good life and that everyone deserves a good life. So never let anyone make you feel bad about what you own. In one of our article posts we go into the mindset of champions and recommend you check out Steven Siebold and his books about how well-to-do people live.
Next point of contention is that right now digital currency is seen as another digital asset which has been argued as a tool for bad. But the same can be argued about any other item. A pencil can be used destructively. A plastic bag can be used in a bad way. The same thing about old fashioned cash. It all depends on how what your intentions are with it. It’s not the tool that’s the problem, but the intent and action of the possessor of the item. Again, there are major forces wanting to work against new technology just like people argued against cars and trains when they had horse and buggy. Or people arguing about building a new railway system. There will always be someone to try to drag down your campaign and your goals. Just watch the political news and you will see a lot of that happening.
So what is the point?
- Politico has an article entitled “Get Your Act Together” by Eric Gellar published on 12/10/2019
- Bloomberg has an article entitled “Encryption Backdoors Won’t Stop Crime…” by Michael Hayden from 12/10/2019 at 6:30EST
- The Register has an article by Thomas Claburn on 12/10/2019 about “…strong privacy-protecting encryption…”
- And CNBC has an article about lawmakers that “threaten to regulate encryption if tech companies won’t do it themselves” on 12/10/2019
This is a major wakeup call to all companies, industries, hackers, software developers, FOSS, open sourcers, script kiddies and DIYers etc all around the world that your privacy is at risk.
Many years ago a young budding nation broke from the tyranny of over reach to guarantee freedoms and that included the right that “protects personal privacy, and every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable … intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses, and property”. And it also ties into free speech and thought. If we are no longer able to guarantee some semblance from 24/7 surveillance and a digital 1984 Orwellian world which blockchain, cell cameras, and audio-speaker devices and heart monitors are pushing us toward, then we only have ourselves to blame.
Will it take a technological Civil War to have people realize that we are increasingly linked to a digital Matrix, a digital Metropolis full of AI, GPS linked Cybertrucks and Borg enhanced Teminator humans that are increasingly reliant on technologies and digital passcodes to get access to everything with deep faked news that may be biased?
Don’t think that people and governing bodies will make regulations that will help you either. Many regulations help in someway, but consequences real and unintended can result.
For instance regulations that were intended to protect burglars from a person’s home in the case of trespass allowed a home owner to defend oneself (one’s castle), but it opened up gray areas where it often benefited home owners but at the cost poorer individuals could be wrongly targeted and other issues. This was a recent featured commentary on NPR for instance.
We all like to think that people that make the rules have your interests at heart, but often it doesn’t and can introduce personal bias, or push an agenda to benefit elite interests, and also can leave people that don’t know any better in a bad way. This bears repeating… “people that don’t know any better” often are affected by rules they aren’t aware of. People aren’t entirely dumb or ignorant or uneducated. Some also aren’t able to read or write if they’re from another country but they are smart in many other ways. And most people are living their daily lives, trying to put food on the table and pay rent and take care of family to know about this “cyber war” campaign that’s raging under the surface of the news.
If you’re in the U.S. you really should be worried. And if you’re overseas you should be worried because the people are coming for your data too and it’s not a matter of if, but when.
According to a few statistics such as Cybersecurity Ventures ransomware damage costs in 2019 were “rise to 11.5 billion” dollars. And according to an article by ITgovernance.co.uk at least 1.7 billion records were leaked. Think of all the family, parents, children and peoples lives affected that had their information exposed. Infosec operators keep saying, “it’s not a matter of if” your data will get breached “but when”. It’ll probably happen at least once in your lifetime and with computers getting faster and faster and quantum super computers and GPU accelerated hacking you’re highly likely to have your zip files cracked, and database hacked. And even if you did all you should be doing, you ultimately rely on the next person to secure your data. Think about police records, medical data and health records. Heck, even when I go in to cut my hair sometimes they ask for my name and address to pull up a database profile when I go into a Clips joint. Paraphrasing comedian Mitch Hedburg, “there does not need to be pen and paper” brought into this transaction, I just want my donut.
If you’re not scared after your credit bureau and scores were hacked, or game consoles hacked, department stores and hardware stores hacked, and major movie studio hacks… You really ought to be. You should be frightened that someone’s already autodialing your phone ever few hours and leaving a message. In fact if you get a random message or text on your phone your app probably has already leaked some of your permissions and harvested your contacts, or maybe you downloaded an app that was done by a foreign country trying to harvest intelligence.
A few times we have seen:
- email flooders where we thought we were responding to a legitimate sign up and our emails were flooded with abusive emails
- dating scams trying to get you to give up and email or phone account that lures you to phishing attempts
- prison scam phone calls that try to get you to answer
- miscellaneous calls that ask you to reply with a yes or no or 1 or 2 to acknowledge you have a real phone
This is why if companies are not able to build decentralized fully encryptable source code into their software and hardware because of overly far reaching policies then individuals need to learn how to do it and do it in an open way for the sake of everyone. It needs to be open free fully encrypted, decentralized, proxied or Torrified software not just for one country but everyone so that there’s never any one ruler or policy maker that believe they themselves are all-knowing, all-seeing, all judging and cuts off free speech and also cuts off the right to silence and privacy and ultimately self-incrimination also.
Right now we’re in a balance and there’s no hard coded regulation or policy. It’s been a battle of the bulge and war of the roses to have the encryptors vs decryptors. But if one side decides, no you just can’t fully encrypt everything then innovation will absolutely die. There will be no further incentive to create and manufacture that product. And people may decide to go overseas. And in essence we’re pushing bright minds and scientists and digital privacy and data encryption specialists overseas and losing out on the brilliance and will do disservice to ourselves as when we get hacked as were 22 million stolen employee records during one of the biggest hacks to personnel management records in U.S. history then we have only ourselves to blame. Every day more records are exposed and it is utterly futile.
And then we want to open up a channel called a “backdoor” so that others may be able to hack, or intrude on privacy from overseas, and even spy on not only in a foreign capacity but also domestic way? Are they kidding and playing with our data and our lives? After all you believe no one will ever abuse and peek in on your data in the “course of business” and line of duty and work, right? I mean right? The old “we’re watch over you, trust us and give us your (encryption) keys”.
Sorry, but we’ve made mistakes before in the past and we’ve been conquered by civilizations that advanced further and toppled primitive cultures because they didn’t know any better or didn’t have the tools or equipment to be prepared. And history will repeat itself. You see protests overseas where weapons were gradually removed and the frogs boiled to death in the pots. And you’ve heard not your “private keys” not your coins.
Don’t give up your all your personal freedoms in the name of protecting everyone because no one will ever be fully pleased. If you try to please everyone, you please no one and eventually everyone will fall in line. What’s good for the goose isn’t always right for the gander.
Steps to take:
Encryption needs to be a right for everyone to have fully secure protected communications and the freedom to communicate and communicate privately and have a private conversation.
Don’t try to encode regulations to try to protect everyone because innovation may end up being stifled, allow companies to naturally bring things to the market.
Pressure to keep ahead of the curve will bring better products, but don’t choke off all avenues.
Be aware that people that say that they value your freedom by taking away one of your freedoms should be regarded with skepticism because they have neither the right or merit for complaining when they have their information compromised.
Start supporting companies that use strong encryption and infosec and cryptographic methods and if you’re a developer or individual person, come up with programs that support this stronger option so that everyone in the world is using it and it’s just standard. Right now people thing of encryption almost as an afterthought and it needs to be ingrained into our daily consciousness that we need data privacy and security.
Learn about infosec every day and subscribe to a feed or daily article about security.
Spread the message that the people want freedom of speech and freedom of privacy and it needs to be built into governing rules that privacy is a right too.
We understand that building a car you want everyone to wear a seatbelt or be protected and is important of course, but having a cutaway in your car that exposed you to other dangers and elements, is that really what you want to do?
And lastly, to every country out there: Start developing your own programs, your own source code, your own digital assets. Over reliance one one currency, one policy, one framework, one commodity, one country’s technology is a recipe for disaster for humanity. If we’re to survive then perhaps Elon Musk has the right idea and we need to get off the one planetary Matrix and gravity holding us back so that we’re not constrained by our self-imposed limiting beliefs. 2008 we had a down-spiraling monetary and economic catastrophe because of bad policies and everyone building on top of a house of cards and feeding back into the system, a global thinktank of bad behavior because of reliance on a few big players. We all need to become self reliant and govern our own data and privacy accordingly.