There is something that pervades mankind in the 21st century that seems to want to divide us against one another. It’s the old ‘us vs. them‘ meme but taken to extremes, and it’s everywhere. I’m not longer certain what it is, because the commonalities are fewer and farther between, and the extremes are growing in number.
Here’s an example that goes beyond iPhone vs. Android, or Mac vs. Windows. We’re hopelessly divided on whether or not plain old encryption is good or not. Or, so says new information from the Pew Research Center. Read it and weep. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of humanity’s efforts to secure itself from, well, the rest of humanity.
I think most people have trouble with understanding the issues and the technology, let alone coming up with a proper response to simple questions. Apple’s Siri has a different answer for the same question asked of Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant.
Which is better? Mac or Windows?
Even humans answer the question differently, so how do they answer when asked something like this?
The government should be able to access encrypted communications when investigating crimes.
Political party affiliation has Americans leaning in two different directions. Democrats are less in favor of government intervention, while Republicans are more in favor of such intervention.
How about this one?
Technology companies should be able to use encryption technology that is unbreakable, even to law enforcement?
Never trust anyone over 30. So those 29 and younger top the list of distrust of government intrusion, but the majority of all age groups think tech companies should NOT be using such unbreakable technology; and in numbers greater than the previous question above.
What’s with the disparity? We can’t even agree on what we don’t agree upon.
Dave: Open the pod bay doors, please, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Remember back to last year when Apple refused the F.B.I.’s request to help unlock a terrorist’s iPhone? Apple said no. More than half of American’s said that Apple should have helped. Should Apple have helped depends more upon political affiliation, education, and emotion as it does the facts in the case.
Perhaps the questions could have been phrased to be more personal?
Is macOS Sierra better than Windows 10? Or, is iPhone more secure than Android smartphones?
For example, how would you respond to this statement?
The government should be able to access your encrypted communications for any reason.
Anybody see a problem there?
Or, how about this adjustment to the Pew Research statement?
Technology companies should have unbreakable encryption on your devices to protect you from criminals, hackers, foreign entities, and government intrusion.
Suddenly, the perspective changes a bit, even though the end result is the same. Mac, iPhone, and iPad users are better educated so they have, in general, a better understanding of the issues than Android device owners or Windows PC users.
So, the real problem here is not ‘Mac vs. Windows‘ or ‘iPhone vs. Android.’ It’s more like, ‘Why do we allow people to use inferior products?‘ Here’s another idea that has come to mind. ‘Why does everyone of a certain age get one vote in an election?‘
Shouldn’t smarter people get two votes?