The Latest Breach of Your Privacy - The FBI

For a nerd like me, one of the most frustrating aspects of politics is the mutual technological ignorance of both parties.  The Republicans and Democrats are remarkably similar in matters of information gathering, data sharing and surveillance.  Our National Security and Law Enforcement communities request more and more access to our digital activity, and the Congress supplies it.  These organizations argue that this access is needed to protect us.  While I am sympathetic and supportive toward those who keep our nation and communities safe, my background in technology won't allow me to be at ease.

Forget for a moment the potential abuses that are possible when an organization has access to your unencrypted communications across commercial data stores.  That's something that would terrify our founders, but I want to talk about something more practical.  The government can't be trusted with your data.  They've proven themselves inept.  The latest example is an intrusion into FBI data where as many as 12 MILLION iPhone Unique Device Identifiers (UDID) have been gained by the hacking group Antisec.  They've released one million of these UDIDs to the public to support their claim, and they report that that have personal information like user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses to match.

FBI Seal

I can't imagine what the FBI was doing with that much information, but I don't think all 12 million of those devices belong to suspected criminals.  This breach tells us that our government is collecting data on ordinary citizens, and worse they can't even protect that data.  This is not a party issue!  Bush and Obama are both offenders here.  Likewise, check the voting records for your local Senators and Congressmen.  You'll find both parties frequently vote with enthusiasm to compromise your privacy in the digital world.

This has to stop.  Private companies aren't much better.  I read about a new major breach with frightening regularity, but at least companies only have access to their data.  The government is collecting and federating data across multiple companies and in doing so they are making it easier for bad actors to attack your identity and devices.

Call your representatives and let them know that this breach is unacceptable and that the US policies toward data collection and storage are unacceptable.  Demand legislation that supports the privacy of American citizens.

You wouldn't accept government monitoring in your home, and there's no reason you should allow it on your phone, computer, or Internet access.