Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Societal security practices

Individual security, in some instances, is a personal choice. You might leave your phone completely open with no PIN or lock pattern. Someone else might install a PIN lock per app. I lock the whole phone with a lock pattern. We all choose what works best for us, and most people choose convenience (no lock) over security (lock).

That aggregate choice, however, affects or even creates the broad security landscape in which we operate. If most people lock their phones, then most thieves can never get into a stolen phone, making phone theft basically pointless. However, since most people do not lock their phones, phone theft is still viable and a locked phone can instead be more vulnerable when stolen, because a locked phone will just get discarded while an unlocked phone gives you time to hunt it down.

This is exactly what happens when the general public get to choose how convenient they want their technology. What can we do about it? Well, one option would be to all leave our phones unlocked and just track them down when they're stolen. Another option is to demand, at the manufacturer level, that all phones have locks installed from now on. Take away the choice. Either way works, but I have a feeling that the second way would make a better world, even if it's a less-convenient one.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, that won't happen, because it's hard to change.
PPS - And, as we've learned, law enforcement opposes anything that makes it harder to spy on us.

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