It seems that tech companies are what is left standing between citizen’s privacy rights and governments’ surveillance…
This has been demonstrated in the past by Microsoft stance in regards of the access to the tech companies networks by intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities, in order to collect information about its users.
More recently, it has been the turn of Apple, which has expressed substantial objections to the proposals intended to update UK’s surveillance laws in its written submission to the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill.
According to the draft, police and security services will be able to access the Internet browsing history of UK citizens, without prior judicial authorisation being required. Moreover, in order to comply with a judicial order, companies could be required to hack devices and accounts to acquire information.
Apple argues convincingly that such measures amount to implement a ‘back door’, which will weaken the end-to-end encryption methods used by tech companies precisely to protect communications between devices and the associated customer data, thus allowing for an easier interception by third parties. As put by Tim Cook himself, “any back door is a back door for everyone”.
One would dare to think that, considering all the news regarding data breaches and hacking, implementing ‘back doors’ would be spontaneously deemed an foolish idea and automatically excluded from discussion.
It is a common view of many national governments, fuelled by the successive terrorist attacks in Paris, that the strengthening of the capabilities of law-enforcement agencies is required in order to prevent terrorist attacks.
However, the view that privacy should be traded for increased and stronger national security is exaggeratedly one-dimensional, as they are not forcefully as closely related as some want them to appear.
Considering that the terrorists involved in those attacks were already well-known from the competent authorities, it is difficult to accept how more privacy-intrusive tools, directed to everyone, and which actually entail further exposing citizens to online threats, will help preventing future attacks.