For your eyes (and ears) only

Paris 13-11-15 emblem

In the aftermath of the appalling atrocities in Paris, as the world struggles to comprehend the acts of barbarism carried out on a city that contributed so heavily to our notions of democracy and freedom and shaped so much of our modern culture.

It’s impossible to make sense of such acts and the endless column inches combined with perpetual rolling coverage serves little more than as distraction.

As politicians scramble to control the news cycle and appear decisive, reasoned thinking loses out to headlines in the list of priorities very rapidly. Of course, as we’ve seen so often, agendas can often be pushed to the fore in the name of security and necessity.

Almost immediately there were calls from security agencies for an industry wide encryption weakening from the technology industry.

Citing their need for instant, unfettered access to any and all data users possess, the major intelligence agencies requested a built in back door entrance to every major operating system and device.

This all with mounting evidence that the perpetrators of the Paris attacks communicated through open and unsecured methods in contrast to the vociferous early views that encryption was too blame.

Thankfully, the requests have so far been unanimously rejected by the tech industry, which quite rightly point out that weakening encryption and providing a back door would simply increase the opportunities for hackers. Not to mention, governments haven’t got the best record of securing data, the recent OPM data leak compromised the personal information of over 20 million people.

This request for access on demand to the data of anyone who runs a modern computer or smartphone is not new, it has been an ever present topic over the past decade, which with each passing tragedy, increases in noise.

It seems inevitable that at some stage fairly soon one, if not all, of the large technology companies will relent to the pressure and back down.

It’s worth remembering that this will be carried out with no fanfare and most likely without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. So where does that leave us as individuals and as business’s?

As our connectivity grows with each year and the data we use increasingly digitized yet our security lessens, how can we move forward. Well, it’s time to rethink how we conduct business. It’s no accident that smart phones and most types of internet communication are considered public by the very people who we trust to keep us safe.

Intelligence agencies know that the very act of digitizing our communication makes it vulnerable and that’s before our systems are quite possibly about to become even weaker at keeping our secrets safe. When it comes to communicating amongst a group, you are simply increasing the possibility of data leaks as every member of the group is a potential data leak through whatever device they are using, not to mention the possibility of device loss or theft.

That’s why major companies and security experts are returning to telephone conferencing for their group communications as it massively eliminates so many of the possible breaches in security.