DoD + Silicon Valley > ISIL

  • DoD: Department of Defense
  • Silicon Valley: Tech industry leaders, mostly located in California
  • >: Greater than
  • ISIL: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, jihadist militant group

Now you can understand the title of this post, DoD + Silicon Valley > ISIL? Meaning can a partnership between the tech world and the US government be the key to fighting terrorism? That’s exactly what the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, suggested this week (watch below).

It really is a crazy time in tech and I can’t imagine how the US government can expect this campaign to be successful, without the likes of Apple, who by the way is currently in a fight with the FBI for REFUSING to unlock an iPhone of one of the SanBernardino shooters. Don’t think this is at all inconsequential. As I told you before, it would be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to see what side the other tech companies took in this battle. Facebook, Google, Verizon, MicrosoftAmazon and others ALL support Apple’s position.

U.S. Secretary of Defense on Apple encryption: ‘I’m not a believer in backdoors’

So how can the government on one hand, ask tech to help fight terrorism one way, while at the same time asking these companies to completely ignore the privacy of millions of Americans also in the name of fighting terrorism. Sorry; but, that is not going to fly, so saith and judge in New York.

US cannot make Apple provide iPhone data in drug case, NY judge says

Apple Gets Tech Industry Backing in iPhone Dispute, Despite Misgivings

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 5.33.14 PM

Encrypted Communications

m6BFtJQW_400x400Telegram is the Berlin-based competitor to Facebook’s WhatsApp. Using two layers of encryption, the app claims to be ‘faster and more secure’ than other messaging services. Users can message and send files to friends, create group chats with up to 200 members, or opt for ‘special secret chats’ where messages self-destruct. ISIS terrorists are turning to encrypted underground apps like Telegram to communicate. Laith Alkhouri, director of Research at Flashpoint Global Partners, called it ‘the new hot thing among jihadists.'” (CNN Money)

(See also Encryption 101 by yours truly)

This is the EXACT type of communication that continues to drive the debate about privacy and national security in America. It also puts Silicone Valley (the tech community) against governments around the world, including the US, and continues to come up in the Democratic & Republic Presidential Debates. Here’s what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said in a recent 60-minutes interview:

I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security. If the government lays a proper warrant on us today then we will give the specific information that is requested. Because we have to by law. In the case of encrypted communication, we don’t have it to give. And so if like your iMessages are encrypted, we don’t have access to those. There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.

Remember when Carla Dean (Will Smith’s wife in Enemy of the State) said, “Who’s going to monitor the monitors?” That’s exactly the point critics raise with spying on encrypted communications in general. China actually just passed legislation that, “mandate[s] internet companies operating in China provide encryption keys and passwords to the government when requested.” Make no mistake, the US wants to go this way as well. The TED talk below argues against government spying and Rand Paul is one of the few presidential candidates that has consistently argued against NSA spying on Americans – it’s one of the points I DO agree with him on.

The United States of America has THE strongest and most funded military in the world. Surely it can find a way to use all the intelligence information collected legally by the CIA, NSA, and Department of Defense, and pool both their resources and talent to STAY AHEAD of the curve without violating the rights of ordinary americans, no? #tobecontinued!

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 11.21.36 PM