Australia's AG Says Public Will Be Cool With Encryption Backdoors Because They Use Facebook
from the talking-(out-of-your-ass)-points dept
In what has become standard operating procedure following a terrorist attack in any part of the (western) world, a top government official is calling for encryption backdoors. This call is being made despite the lack of evidence supporting the theory terrorists are encrypting their communications. And this particular call, being made by Australian Attorney General George Brandis, is being made despite Brandis claiming he’s not calling for encryption backdoors.
Brandis told the Sun Herald he plans to give agencies freer access to encrypted messaging, insisting the government didn’t want to force companies like Facebook and Apple to have a “back door” into its messaging platforms.
“At one point or more of that process, access to the encrypted communication is essential for intelligence and law enforcement,” Brandis said.
“If there are encryption keys then those encryption keys have to be put at the disposal of the authorities.”
You can call a backdoor “keys under the doormat,” but it’s still a backdoor even if you’re going in the front. Keys held by anyone are keys that can be compromised. It is impossible for law enforcement/intelligence agencies to claim a backdoor is a secure way to protect people’s privacy while providing lawful access. See also: the dumping of CIA/NSA software exploits. See also: leaking is still a thing. See also: the TSA’s (physical) master keys have been cloned… thanks to the TSA’s carelessness. And etc.
But it’s all OK even if someone evil manages to make copies of the encryption keys. Why? Because Facebook.
[H]e said the public’s attitudes towards privacy were changing, pointing to the so-called “Facebook generation”.
“I think also community attitudes, particularly among younger people towards the concept of privacy are changing,” Brandis said.
“In the Facebook generation when people put more and more of their own personal data out there, I think there is an entirely different attitude to privacy among young people then there was than perhaps a generation or two ago.”
Hello, false equivalency! Brandis makes statements about the government accessing people’s private messages (he specifically mentioned Whatsapp and iMessages) and thinks no one will have a problem with it because of what they publicly share on social media. One would hope — for the sake of their own sanity — that Brandis is being deliberately obtuse for the sake of pushing his non-backdoor backdoors. The only other explanation is that Brandis is an idiot who can’t suss out the difference between private communications and public sharing.
He backs up his baffling, possibly disingenuous assertion with a factoid generated out of thin air:
He suggested the the majority of people in Australia didn’t prioritise privacy over giving security agencies more “tools” to fight terrorism.
This person — who represents the public interest — should probably spend a bit more time actually listening to the public. The only people making these sorts of assertions are government officials. You rarely hear private citizens — especially not a majority of them — arguing for more government intrusion, even in the wake of terrorist attacks.
Nothing stops the fear train, though, not even simple logic. Backdoors that aren’t backdoors, backed with the conflation of public and private communications, and capped off with a declaration that this is what the public wants, even though the public has never expressed any such desire. It’s a bullshit Triple Crown win for Brandis, who certainly shouldn’t be allowed to handle any heavy government machinery in the future.