Once more, the guiding light that is our Google overlords have distilled the problems that plague our daily lives into a simple and concise solution. What do you do when the data you once thought was private and secure is now under threat of being arbitrarily gathered by warrantless government dragnets?
According to an article on Bloomberg (source), Google's Eric Schmidt had this to say; "We can end government censorship in a decade. The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything." That is the same thing that we are told to do when entering payment data into forms online or viewing banking information from an account. The encryption is just out of sight and out of mind, so everyday users forget that there is a process or step taken to protect their data. Now privacy conscience users must take the personal and extra step of protecting their data with encryption instead of expecting their government to respect civil rights. Seems simple enough, and more straight forward than the electoral process. Just don't forget the encryption key. Seriously, the encryption key is much more important than your Facebook password.
What's The Real Problem?
Since word of the massive governmental surveillance programs broke and the world reacted to the programs designed to gather massive amounts of generalized data clandestinely, I have tried to decide exactly how I feel about the mess.
Yes, I am furious that my government has decided to trample of my rights to privacy. Its even more galling that the only way we all found out about it was due to a pissed off employee with a chip on his shoulder. Where are the good investigative reporters these days?
The problem I have with my general fury over the spying case is that I never expected my government to tell me the truth. I always expected it to trample liberty when it felt like it. The US government has always had a huge grey area that they loved to live in. Need more land to settle an ever-expanding populace? Just march the native populations of Cherokee and what not to the land no one wants. Problem solved. Worried that Japanese spies might wreak havoc during the early parts of WWII? Just lock up the entire population of American citizen who are of Japanese descent and the problem is solved. Need to catch a possible criminal doing possibly criminal things? Just wiretap the world and the problem is solved. See? Its easy. Too easy.
The other part of my general fury over the governmental spying case is that people are so put off about having to take the simple steps of securing their data. People believe that the government should pass laws that forbid this type of surveillance and then that will be the end of it. First, reread the preceding paragraph. Uncle Sam does what is right for Uncle Sam. More importantly, laws do not stop lawbreakers and criminals. The internet is filled with malicious software viruses, and phishing sites designed to specifically target vulnerable data. If users too the proper steps to secure their data from outside attack, then the spying case would be just another version of our government overstepping its authority. However, since most people cannot be bothered to create a secure password on their email, much less encrypt their entire digital lives, they will expect laws to protect them. Then when the next breech occurs, these same users can rise up in furious anger over their trampled and lost privacy.
Personal responsibility is the key to protecting privacy on the net. Sure, you can expect Google and other providers to strengthen their networks and harden them against intrusions and unauthorized access. Then as soon as the next intrusion happens everyone is back as square one. Take the time to shore up your own personal data protection and listen to Google. "Encrypt everything" and take the responsibility of your privacy into your own hands.