Crypto War: We Need a Better Solution

Ben Benoy Economy and MarketsIf you’re a red-blooded American you probably know the 2nd Amendment, right to bear arms argument all too well.

One side argues owning a fire-arm is a constitutionally given right which makes America a safer place. Meanwhile, the other side argues for tighter restrictions due to gun-related violence.

My personal favorite is: “Strong gun control means you can hit your target!”

No matter what side you’re on, the issue is beyond complicated. It requires a measured and well-thought-out approach to balance between personal and federal protection.

Now imagine throwing the gun out of the debate, and think about another device most Americans carry around with them and use every day…

Smart phones.

The argument in this case is now eerily similar. After the most recent terrorist attacks, the U.S. Governrnment isn’t saying you can’t have this device. However, they are pushing for policy that would control key features on it. Specifically, the 10-letter technology that’s at the center of this whole freedom and privacy debate: encryption.

Now if you’ve watched any of the political news conferences lately, you probably heard the politicians throwing around the encryption buzzword like it’s the spawn of Dr. Evil. From what they’re saying, you’d think it’s only used for despicable purposes and terrorist plots.

But just like guns, encryption technology is primarily used for security and protection. Smart phones store and communicate an incredible amount of personal information such as financial, health, and location data.

It’s now more important than ever to keep this information away from criminals who want to leverage your own personal information against you.

Without strong encryption, hackers and criminals can access your personal information, steal it, and even use it without your knowledge or permission. If you know anyone who has had their credit card or identity stolen, you know exactly what I am referring to.

But it gets worse. Without strong encryption, security hackers have the capability to turnrn on your microphone or camera without you knowing. Better not take your phone to the restroom ever again!

After the tragic San Bernrnardino shootings, the FBI asked Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) to not only assist with breaking into the terrorist’s iPhone to gain crucial intelligence, but to also build a permanent “back door” into the software on iPhones to allow for governrnment access.

Apple complied with the first request, but denied the second on the grounds that this new tool was too dangerous to create and the governrnment couldn’t properly control it.

Now policymakers in Washington want to make it illegal for smart phone manufacturers to make devices that the governrnment cannot access through back doors. Politicians argue that access would only be granted after a legitimate court order, like a search warrant on a house. Problem is, the back door would still be there for anyone to break in.

So, large tech companies throughout Silicon Valley are starting to mount a unified defense with Apple. This could make the National Rifle Association’s anti-gun control lobby look like a high school prom queen campaign!

Make no doubt about it, this issue is about to get bigger than the gun control debate, and have further reaching implications in how we live our lives with technology. And it will likely give way to new technologies as well.

It’ll come at the right time, too. The debate’s not going away, and we need a better solution!

For the tech company that can develop the right software that balances personal and federal protection, the possibilities for cornrnering the market are endless. This company could even be the next billion-dollar competitor in the space.

Ever hear the adage that the world’s largest taxi company owns no cars (Uber)? Or the world’s most popular media company creates no content (Facebook)?

Right now, there’s a vacuum in the smart phone industry for the right tech company to address this problem. And whoever does will likely be crowned the new king in this space, even without manufacturing a single phone.

Ben Benoy

Ben Benoy

Editor, Biotech Intel Trader