There’s a common rule of thumb regarding headlines on the internet, TV, or in newspapers. If the headline ends in a question mark, then the answer usually is ‘no.’ The question is straightforward. Do you really need privacy and security on your devices? If not, why not? If so, how much?
Privacy and security are red hot public issues being somewhat overshadowed by election year noise but two trends are unmistakable. First of all, our devices– Mac, iPhone, and iPad– and many of the applications we use day to day, have increased security and privacy options and are likely to get more in the next few years.
Secondly, our personal privacy and security is under assault from multiple directions. Governments of the world want unfettered access to the information we store on our devices. Just in case we’re doing something wrong. And perhaps just in case we’re even thinking about doing something wrong, government spooks are there to stop us. Hackers and criminals, of course, want to take our money which means whatever is stored on our devices is fair game; whether it be lessening our bank accounts with email phishing scams or demanding a ransom to get our Macs out of a hostage situation.
Maybe we need to ask ourselves if it’s really important to store private information– the kind that’s valuable to us, and could be valuable to the government or criminals (or both; sometimes I’m not sure there’s a difference)– on our Macs, iPhones, and iPads. After all, doesn’t storing valuable information on our devices just make us bigger targets?
Which direction should we go?
Store what we want and hope Apple’s security is sufficient to ward off attacks by the government or criminal hackers? Or, don’t bother to store anything valuable on mobile devices at all?
Those are fair questions.
No technology company has done a better jobs at increasing the security of our devices while at the same time making such security measures easier to use. It stated with complicated passwords, but those are painful to use and difficult to remember. Then Apple added Touch ID so a fingerprint could open an iPhone or iPad, and often the same fingerprint can be used to open up securely locked and encrypted data stored in applications.
Thank you, Apple, but is that enough? No.
In the U.S. about the only thing that cannot be opened with a warrant is your brain; your thoughts and knowledge and experience– but even that is under assault as courts can force you to unlock a locked device. Apple to the rescue. The latest version of iOS for iPhone and iPad adds a few restrictions even to Touch ID where a password is required after x-number of hours.
Good. But Apple can do more. Give me some security layers in iOS 10 and the next macOS, both due later this year.
First up, voice and face recognition tied to Touch ID. Call it Face ID and Voice ID. Second, add a panic fingerprint to Touch ID. When forced to open iPhone or iPad, the panic finger would be used which would put the iPhone into lockdown or even erase its contents. Yes, all three of those will cause Apple endless customer support issues, but the only alternative to a safer and more secure Mac, iPhone, and iPad is either more security, or none at all, and we revert to the dark ages of 1999 and never store anything valuable or incriminating on our devices.
For my part, I’ve decided to take NoodleMac in a new direction. What you see on each page are fewer ads and no built-in reader tracking mechanism. No trackers. No cookies. Just my notes and ramblings on all things Apple, so you’re safe to browse around without be tracked by anyone. And I hope you appreciate the site’s new design and layout which works well on Mac, iPhone, or iPads, regardless of screen size.