The encryption debate ends now. As a society we simply canít allow backdoors in encryption. Anyone who tells you otherwise has absolutely no idea how computers work.
Backdoors are a threat to the security of the entire world.
There is no more room for debate here, no more compromise.
As the Petya ransomware virus rampages across the planet, shutting down hospitals, schools and major businesses everywhere, obliterating data with a vengeance, we have all the proof weíll ever need that nobody can build a backdoor and keep it safe. Why? Because Petya and WannaCry both use powerful exploits that the NSA kept secret for years.
Right up until they couldnít.
And thereís more the come. The Shadow Brokers keep dumping cyberweapons from the NSAís Pandoraís Box. Expect more viruses and damage to critical infrastructure.
The worst part is that this isnít even surprising.
Eventually secrets will always leak from big, sprawling, bureaucratic entities. I want you to take a good long look at the list of US companies and agencies that were breached over the last decade. Go ahead. Take your time. Hereís a brief roundup of the worldís greatest hacking hits:
Internal Revenue Service
UK Ministry of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
Department of Veterans Affairs
Bank of America
Seventy different law enforcement agencies across the US
Florida Department of Juvenile Corrections
State of Texas
Democratic National Committee
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
JP Morgan Chase
And weíre going to leave the keys to a backdoor in the hands of people who canít even keep their own houses locked?
Thatís like handing a loaded gun to a raging derelict in NYC.
Ben Franklin said, ďThree people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.Ē
100% of tech experts agree we canít build backdoors only the ďgood guysĒ get to use. Itís not even remotely possible.
This isnít even the climate change debate. Iím talking 100% agreement, not 97%. Thereís no wiggle room. If youíre a politician looking to hire a ďred-blue teamĒ to fake-debate this you wonít find a single real tech person who agrees with you. Not one. So donít bother. Youíll find fools and other people who think that computers work like magic, powered by unicorns and pixie dust, or who march to talking points like Lemmings off a cliff. But you wonít find anyone who actually knows a thing about computers to agree with you.
Make no mistake: As soon as we cripple encryption with backdoors, weíve built a ticking time bomb. Weíve sacrificed real safety for the illusion of safety, something weíve gotten very good at as a society.
Itís not a question of if the keys to a backdoor get out, but when?
And when it does it will be a disaster for the entire world.
Nothing will be safe.
Banks will get raided with impunity and peopleís entire life savings will vaporize in seconds. People will die as critical medical equipment seizes up in ransomware attacks that make todayís global assaults look like childís play. Voting systems will collapse. Military communications will crumble.
And all because weíre no longer willing to accept risk in society. Weíve become so desperate to stop terrorism that weíve lost our minds. We canít make rational decisions anymore. We can no longer accept that there are always going to be bad people who do bad things.
The answer is not to punish everyone else, but to punish the people who did those bad things.
Instead, the prevailing ďlogicĒ is that we should cripple the entire system to give us the comfortable illusion that the bad guys will be easier to find. But they wonít. The Irish Republican Army blew up a lot of cafes in Britain in the 1960ís and 70ís long before we had encryption. The 9/11 scumbags didnít have WhatsApp. They killed 3,000 people anyway. And still we have the UKís Theresa May calling for backdoors, as well as the Australian government and the FBI in a coordinated attack on common sense.
You can spot a lying politician easily. If thereís a nasty attack, watch how the talking-heads pop onto TVs the very next day crying about the need to stop encryption. This makes them automatic liars because theyíll have no evidence encryption was even used in the attack. Itís literally impossible. Investigations donít move that fast. So the only rational conclusion is theyíre just exploiting a tragedy for their own agenda. Thatís why after the Paris attacks in 2015, the talking-heads were out in force, only to find out the attackers used plain text messages.
But Iím not even saying that the bad guys wonít use encryption. They will and they do. ISIS built their own secure messaging app.
Hereís the thing though: Iím betting ISIS wonít be giving us the backdoor keys to their messaging app any time soon.
So how is mandating backdoors to WhatsApp going to help?
Itís not. Because the politicians know this isnít about stopping terrorists. Itís about spying on average citizens and journalists and activists. Itís about being lazy. Itís about wanting centralized control of everything.
They canít help it, itís in their nature. A scorpion stings, even when the sting will sink them.
Itís real simple. If a politician is calling for backdoors, itís for one of three reasons:
They have no idea how computers work
Theyíre willfully ignorant
My guess is that 99% fall into bullet point three because experts have been telling them this over and over and over since the 1990ís. They know this isnít possible. They just donít care. Theyíre willing to compromise the security of the whole world because of their stupidity. And thatís not just stupid, itís dangerous.
They now use the boogeyman of terrorism to justify the passage of every single misguided and dangerously overreaching law.
Police can steal money from citizens for no reason like theyíre a bunch of crooked Mexican cops rolling tourists at Spring Break. Intelligence agencies can spy on every single person with impunity, while a secret court gives them a rubber stamp 97.97% of the time. Homeland Security can hold people indefinitely without trial. Our tourism industry is crashing. Nobody wants to come to our country because getting through the door is now such a nightmare.
What the hell are we doing?
The Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves. They didnít want Star Chambers and a complete lack of transparency from their leaders. Thatís why they threw those stamps in the sea.
How much more ridiculous does it have to get before we wake up?
Arenít we tired of compromising the rights and freedoms of everyone because of a few crazies? Thatís like punishing everyone in the barracks because one guy snuck in a jelly doughnut. It makes no sense.
Fuck the terrorists.
Weíre not supposed to change for them.
Weíre supposed to go right on doing what we like, because it drives them crazy.
Living openly, drinking, smoking and screwing, speaking our minds, praying and worshiping whoever we want without fear.
Instead weíve done the opposite.
Weíve compromised our freedoms across the board. We treat everyone in society like a child now.
By saying we need backdoors to stop terrorists, politicians are openly saying we need to compromise the security of banks, the stock market, hospitals, and the military. What sane person would think thatís a good idea?
Encryption is not the enemy. Itís essential to our national security. Insane, fanatical extremists are the enemy.
What the politicians canít admit is that they canít stop terrorism. Bad things happen in life. Itís horrible and awful and terrifying. We all wish there was a real answer. But there isnít. And Iím not willing to pretend there is just because it makes me feel better.
Hereís a list of Islamic extremist attacks since the 1960s
. Take a look at the list of countries. Itís pretty much every country on Earth. It doesnít matter if we adopt the iron fist of authoritarianism, like China or Russia, or the completely open and flexible nature of democracy, it still happens.
But hereís the other thing the lying politicians wonít tell you. It doesnít happen that often. Far from terrorists rampaging through the streets and streaming over the border with ease, your chance of dying in a terror attack is 1 in 3.6 million. Your chance of being killed by a refugee? Even less. A lot less. 1 in 3.6 billion. Chances of being killed by those illegal immigrants that idiots like Paul Ryan use to gin up everyoneís fear? 1 in 10.9 billion. That is the same as your chance of dying in a plane crash which is 1 in 11 billion.
You actually have a better chance of winning the lottery, than dying from an illegal immigrant.
By the way, you have a 1 in 114 chance of dying in a car wreck in your lifetime.
Hell, youíve got a better chance of being hit by lightning than dying of terrorism. The chances are 1 in 161,856.
Oh and you have a 1 in 4 chance of dying of heart disease or cancer in your lifetime.
But we spend a paltry $10 billion a year on heart disease and cancer research and a trillion on trying to stop terrorism.
In other words, we focus all of our energy on the most improbable situations. I donít know what else to call that but a catastrophic flaw in human reasoning.
And like all the others flaws in human reasoning, itís pure cognitive dissonance. Blaming encryption for terror attacks is like blaming watermelons and the color green for your favorite team losing the Super Bowl.
Politicians are always looking for points to score, not real solutions. They look for any made-up phantom to blame for the chaotic and uncertain nature of life. Itís disgusting. Encryption is just another convenient scapegoat.
We need to start electing people who will deliver real, sane, competent solutions to problems, if such a person even exists. Iím not so sure. But I am sure of one thing:
The more we go down our current path of insane reasoning and fake fixes to real problems, the more lost we are.
The terrorists are winning.
Bin Laden didnít just destroy two buildings and kill 3,000 people in cold blood.
He made us turn inwards and destroy ourselves.