WILL GOVERNMENTS FORCING TECH COMPANIES TO PROVIDE A “BACKDOOR” ON ENCRYPTED COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDE MORE SECURITY—OR JUST MORE RISK?

Given the considerable use of the Internet, and social media specifically, to spread their radicalism, ISIS and other Jihadist groups are posing a threat to governments worldwide, both in the direct recruitment of fighters, and in inspiring radicalized copy cats.  Recently, the U. S. and some governments in Europe have tried to force the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft to provide a backdoor portal so that they may investigate potential terrorist activities.

The technology companies are pushing back; because, as they say, creating a back door might pose more of a risk than it might protect against.  We have already had other countries—most especially China and Russia—enter into some of our various government and national defense web sites.  Aside from that, there have been numerous instances of hackers committing ID theft or just spreading computer “worms”, which can harm our hardware, and that of others.  So, in the overall scheme of things, by enabling governments to investigate terrorists, we may also be leaving that very same back door open for the unwanted entry of hostile foreign governments, hackers and other intruders.

A number of universities and other schools offer training and even college degrees in cybersecurity.  In fact, the University of Maryland has its University Campus (with a cybersecurity focus) located at Fort Meade, Md, which also houses the National Security Agency Headquarters.  Does anyone believe that other countries do not have similar cyber-training activities?  And let’s not forget about those “digital natives”, who grew-up during the age of digital technology, and are quite adept at using it–for various purposes.

Considering the potential benefits of forcing the technology companies to provide a back door for governments to investigate nefarious computer activities, that might not be as beneficial as it might appear at first glance.  And, like the old saying goes: “Be careful what you ask for!”

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