Writing 05: Privacy vs Security

In a country where there are hundreds of millions of people, and millions coming in per year, I understand the need for the government to somehow be able to see what we do online. The internet, in my opinion, is becoming somewhat of an area that is free from rules, so to speak. You can essentially do anything you want, so long as you stay hidden under a VPN or by any other means. This brings into question, should this be the case? Should there exist an entire world where the government cannot lay down the law? I think this is a tricky situation because while we may not be too opposed to the idea of the government enforcing the law, we also don’t want to give the government too much leeway in which they may be able to abuse their newly founded powers. The government has a history of targeting whoever they deem to be malicious, but the problem is, there is no objective way of enforcing who is malicious and who is not; if the government says you are, then you are and they will paint you in such light. For this reason, I think that we have to shift from watching people all the time to only watching them when they do something wrong. However, it is impossible to predict the future and know when someone is going to break the law, so the government has to be watching in one form or another. One idea is that we could have traffic going through the government, but the source of the traffic is hidden, and only when the traffic is revealed to break the law, then the source of the traffic is revealed. This way, the government would not be able to distort innocent online activity into malicious activity because the online activity would not trigger the switch that would reveal your identity. Furthermore, there should be some kind of randomization, such that once the source of one content is revealed, the stream is shuffled so that the government cannot track the source once that instance is over. This would ensure that they cannot spy on anyone, because they would lose track of the stream that they are looking for. Furthermore, the government would not be able to issue subpoenas that force the surveillance agency to give up lawful online activity about any particular individual, because if the activity was lawful then the source is encrypted and they wouldn’t know how to get it anyway. It was mentioned in one of the readings that Apple has complied with the government in unlocking people’s Iphones if they believe that the person’s Iphone has unlawful activity. The government would no longer be able to do that, if such a service is implemented. If they want to truly only track people that break the law, I see this as one possibility that is better than an absolute Big Brother. Of course, every possibility has potential to be abused, but this very much mitigates that.