Keeping my info safe vs stopping a crime

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 I was reading through an article someone sent me (kudos @CJM) and I was partly amazed while not surprised. The article discussed how companies like GrayShift will provide tools to law enforcers to break into iPhones. This article discuss methods used to obtain information and how to better secure your phone and information to prevent that. The question is where do we draw the line?

I am not trying to be insensitive or play the game of “the government is out to get us”. But I can see how, depending on your situation, easily a person can be a hero or a villain in this. If you are a parent with a missing child you want all the tools at the investigator’s fingertips to find your child. At this point security goes out of the window because your only concern is the life of your child (and rightfully so).

But on the other hand if you are being detained unjustly and told you must unlock your phone. Then an invasion of privacy is happening. And with many of these companies unable to protect that information from hackers, it provides for a scary situation.

Just imagine you are returning from a trip from an overseas vacation. The US Customs agent demands you unlock your phone to be able to enter the states. As a tax paying citizen you feel it is an invasion and want to refuse. But you also realize you have a family and a job at home you must get back to so you reluctantly comply. You unlock your phone and they hook it up to their computer system to retrieve information. Pictures, files, backups, and passcodes saved to their hard drive. And you must trust that your information will not only be made safe by the government but they will be quick to inform you of an information breach.

The thought of the government being trusted with your private information makes many sick. Some may argue they already have that information on file knowing your SSN, your credit info, medical info, and more. They likely have more information about us than we have so if you are not guilty why worry?

The issue for many is not the government but the hacking and breaches happening to government computers. As a citizen you reluctantly gave up your personal information (in the scenario above) to get back in the country. But you did not sign up for some hacker to take that information and either use it themselves or sell it to someone else. This is concern enough for many to not want to give up their information at all. Because they do not trust that the government is capable of protecting it.

There are other reasons why a person who is not guilty is reluctant to give up their phone pass code such as the concern of crooked law enforcing agents or the abuse of that information. And a person who truly is innocent do not want to be treated like a criminal. On the other hand you have a detective who is doing everything they can to keep a promise of bringing that child home alive.

So where do you stand on this issue?

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