The phrase “Like a lamb to slaughter” originates from biblical times. And it when comes to the rising chorus of politicians demanding an end to public availability of strong, end-to-end encryption, it’s we law-abiding citizens who are the lambs about to have our throats cut — by our own leaders.
Every time there’s a terrorist attack, politicians around the world (including here in the USA) are back in front of the cameras demanding government access to our private encrypted communications.
Make no mistake about it, these leaders might as well be on the payroll of the terrorists and other criminal organizations, because such demands if implemented would sell us all down the river, and make our lives vastly more dangerous.
We are far, far more at risk from these politicians wrecking our communications security than we are from terrorists and other criminals themselves in the absence of such weakened technology.
Our lives are increasingly utterly dependent on the security of computer-based communications systems, and this is true even for persons who’ve never touched a computer keyboard or a smartphone.
Our financial and so many other aspects of our personal lives are intertwined with the security and sanctity of strong encryption, and for persons living under the thumb of repressive regimes, their mortal lives themselves hang in the balance when communications security becomes compromised.
Let’s be utterly clear about this. When you’re told that it’s possible to give governments access to our secure communications without fatally weakening the underlying encryption systems, you are being told a lie, plain and simple.
The very act of building a “backdoor” into these systems fundamentally weakens them, putting honest citizens at enormous risk not only for government abuses and mistakes, but also for attacks by black-hat hackers, terrorists, and other criminals of all sorts who will find ways to exploit these government-mandated flaws.
Meanwhile, terrorists and other criminals won’t sit back and use these horrifically compromised communications systems. They’ll move to existing and under development strong end-to-end encryption systems without backdoors — independent apps that are impossible for governments to effectively control.
Government demands for backdoor access to encryption are a disaster for everyone but the evil forces that these politicians claim will be destroyed.
If one assumes for the sake of the argument that our leaders aren’t actually in league with such heinous entities, one is also forced to assume that either these politicians are getting terrible technical advice — or most likely of all — are simply ignoring the known facts in furtherance of pandering and sowing fear for political gains, regardless of the negative consequences on all of us.
Of course, even though governments might try to ban such use, in practice it would likely prove extremely difficult to stop honest, law-abiding citizens from using independent, non-backdoored strong crypto apps themselves — just like evil is sure to do.
Governments don’t like to contemplate honest persons taking such independent steps to control their own destinies. Politicians by and large prefer to think of us like those sheep.
Whether or not our leaders are accurate in such a characterization, is ultimately our decision, not theirs.