The Facebook Generation
The “Facebook generation,” Australian attorney-general George Brandis calls them, referring presumably to Millennials and those even younger. According to him, this generation is comprised of those who don’t care all that much about privacy, as previous generations have. “In the Facebook generation when people put more and more of their own personal data out there, I think there is an entirely different attitude to privacy among young people then there was than perhaps a generation or two ago.”
It is certainly the case that many today have no hang-ups about sharing the most minute (or banal) details of their lives on various social media platforms, at least among people they know and trust. In what distorted perception of reality, however, is that the equivalent of mandatory sharing with law enforcement?
Australia is now facing the same questions of security vs. privacy the U.S. has grappled with over the past few years. We’ve written before about former FBI director James Comey’s views on the topic (back in the day before the whole country knew his name), and the problem has not changed across time or oceans. “If there are encryption keys then those encryption keys have to be put at the disposal of the authorities,” insists Brandis. And yet, he simultaneously denies wanting “back doors” for companies like Facebook or Apple, instead merely wishing them have some unspecified method of greater access to encrypted messaging.
Do politicians not realize the irreconcilability of these two statements? It’s pretty amazing how a simple fact flies over so many heads. Encryption keys are the backdoors. There is no assured ‘exclusivity’ for ‘the good guys’. WannaCry proved that. Surely, if the NSA, of all agencies, can’t prevent its stockpiled ransomware from leaking out, how can we expect such guarantees from anyone? Those who vocalize support for encryption sometimes seem to be the ones working, intentionally or through ignorance, to undermine it.
Even if people are less inclined by default to be cautious about what they share, believe me, a case of identity theft will change their tune in a hurry.
Either way, no matter how free some might be with allowing access into whatever aspects of their lives they choose, it should not be taken as license to invite yourself into other areas.