With the recent news that the National Security Agency and it’s ‘Five Eyes’ partners apparently intercepted literally billions of cell phone SIM crypto keys en route from the manufacturer Gemalto, we have another nail in the coffin of personal privacy. In the words of Star Trek’s irascible Dr. McCoy: “He’s dead, Jim.”
It might be argued that Five Eyes are just doing their job to help intercept network communications that might lead them to useful intelligence concerning international terrorist activity, drug trade, money laundering and other criminal actions. However, we might feel this was less of a totalitarian invasion if the recent NSA revelations did not just look like the bulk collection of global communications of interest everywhere about everyone, and instead helped provide some basic protection for our industries, jobs and personal privacy.
It appears that a number of high tech companies have coincidentally been thrown under the bus by these global spookhause revelations. The Chinese government has stricken Apple, Cisco, Intel and others off their list of approved products, in fear that the integrity of many Western computer products has been compromised by the Five Eyes activities.
The question arises: are we any more secure now? Everyone will have their own answer depending on how they analyze the issue. If we consider the recent massive losses of money and personal data incurred from hacker group active in the financial, healthcare and high tech business sectors, it does not appear that the Five Eyes information collection activities did anything to prevent the wholesale gutting of millions of individuals’ identity and large businesses’ net worth.
I’m tired of the headlines about hackers accessing 70 million personal records at Anthem Health and millions of credit card records at Target, Home Hardware, etc. Perhaps instead, if we read how the NSA and its Five Eyes partners helped stop these events by providing their gathered intelligence concerning hacker attacks to affected companies during the intrusions before all the damage was done, we might actually feel better about how our tax dollars were spent in the aid of protecting our businesses, jobs and personal identities.