What is encryption and why is it so important to you? If you value the information you create and store on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or whatever devices you use, the only way to keep it out of someone else’s hands is, 1) guard your hardware, 2) encrypt your information, 3) store your passwords safely.
That’s what Apple does. The company gives you the tools to store everything on Mac, iPhone, and iPad and keep it safe from prying eyes, whether criminals, hackers, neighbors, family members, friends, coworkers, or government officials.
Encryption once was considered as munitions in the U.S. and not available to average citizens. Those days are gone, thank you, First Amendment, but that does not mean governments– any government, including the U.S.– want encryption to be available for their citizens.
How serious is encryption as an element of human society? Edward Snowden:
In every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war.
There is an ongoing war against encryption that comes from multiple sources at the opposite ends of the scale. Our own governments want to control encryption so they can obtain whatever information the government chooses. Governments elsewhere sponsor attempts to crack into encrypted information stored in other countries. Hackers, criminals, and everyone else you don’t want to be able to gather personal information work diligently and continuously to do just that.
And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe.
In other words, if anyone but you has access to information about you, then none of the information is safe, and all of the information is available to someone, somewhere.
In the simplest terms, encryption is a method of protecting information, the primary way to keep digital communications safe. Every email you write, every keyword you type into a search box – every embarrassing thing you do online – is transmitted across an increasingly hostile internet.
Yes, the argument for encryption is that simple.
Governments want the power to control their citizens. Encryption keeps that power in the hands of the people.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Without total access to the complete history of every person’s activity on Facebook, the government claims it would be unable to investigate terrorists, drug dealers money launderers and the perpetrators of child abuse – bad actors who, in reality, prefer not to plan their crimes on public platforms, especially not on US-based ones that employ some of the most sophisticated automatic filters and reporting methods available.
Put another way, true criminals, hackers, and terrorists will avoid encryption on applications that could be hacked by governmental authorities. Instead, they roll their own, so to speak. Encryption is available in many forms, and even if governments have access to Facebook, Apple’s customers, and others, the bad guys still won’t be tracked down because those governments will not have backdoors to that encryption.
Encryption is important. Without it, we revert to a lifestyle more in line with the early part of the last century. With it, everything we do is more secure and beneficial.
Thank you, Apple.