What we already know as a fact is that the governments from around the world are not fans of the term ‘privacy’. They in fact openly oppose it and try their best to bring out laws to limit the power of encryption and other privacy and security tools. These laws are termed as necessities for protecting National Security.
Many a times, these laws fail to satisfy the government’s urge for strong National Security. In these circumstances, some governments and security agencies employ tactics, which apart from being completely immoral are a recipe for disaster for the country. There have been several cases where such tactics only made matters worse. What governments should realize is that these tactics are doing more harm than good to the country’s National Security.
Governments’ attacks on security come in many disguises, which include:
-) Promoting crypto backdoors:
Government’s attempts to eliminate security features, obtain keys to unlock encrypted data, insert vulnerabilities into software and undermine crypto as a whole through legislation, litigation or unofficial pressure are actually making us less secure against terrorists, rogue governments and cyber criminals.
-) State-sponsored malware:
There have also been cases where the government designed and deployed malicious code to infect computers. This technique is often employed to uncover or silence dissent.
-) Malicious hacking:
Government agents actively try to break into computers so that they can access, copy, delete, or even create data in order to fit their needs. These practices are shrouded in secrecy and often lack a simple warrant or court order.
-) Stockpiling or exploiting vulnerabilities:
The government may find or purchase security vulnerabilities of a company or an organization and then use them for investigative or “offensive” purposes. The US government has already created a policy, known as the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), which allows the government to withhold any information or security vulnerability they discovered in a company or organization. The government then uses this information for their own purposes.
Such tactics have dire consequences on the public as a whole. Most of the time, innocent people are targeted by the government, leading to collateral damage. And even when the guilty are targeted, the damage done is way higher than it should be.
A good democratic government is always expected to protect the integrity of its people. Intrusive surveillance in the name of national security is morally and ethically wrong. The collateral damage is also way too high for the government to term these tactics as beneficial.
Governments must heed for ways to improve the public’s privacy and security instead of banning important technologies like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or encryption.