The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security
The term ‘Kafkaesque’ has originated after the publishing of Frantz Kafka’s work and it actually describes situations of absurdity or existential anxiety, similar of situations in Kafka’s writings. Frantz Kafka was a brilliant writer, born to a Jewish family in Prag of 1883 and in his work he liked to explore themes of bureaucracy ,alienation, guilt and absurdity.
In one of his stories, ‘The Burrow”, he describes a situation pretty much like our ‘encryption backdoor argument’ which increased its popularity with politicians, following the recent tragic event in Paris.
By Prime Minister Cameron ‘s declaration we must not allow for any means of communications which can not be read , and President Obama sees a big problem in not being able to penetrate information when finding evidence of a terrorist plot…
The FBI just recently asked Apple, following the identification of a terrorist’s devise, for the development of a new IOS ( Information Operation System) which bypasses security in current IOS by creating a back door.
In Kafka’s story, a mole-like creature completes the building of a burrow which consists of an elaborate maze build up of a system of tunnels, twisted passages and numerous chambers . The animal put in a lot of effort in building this burrow and he is very proud of his work. He even states that now he can be no more afraid… But then, he starts re-examining it and suddenly panics – What if some unseen enemies will find it and expose everything he put in? So he starts obsessively moving around the food stored in the main chamber spreading it through the passages but then again, what if he’ll get old and will not be able to find his way between all the fifty chambers of his burrow ? So he puts back everything to the place where it was before and obsessively continues to improve the burrow. When he is finally done and calms down, he again goes outside and looks around, fearing that someone can discover the entrance. He decides to lye down next to the entrance and guard it but then he thinks that it is better to hide and watch that no one will approach his ‘home’.
So, he ends up guarding the burrow night and day from a hiding place outside of it but nevertheless it gives him confidence and he feels now secure and reassured.
One can not miss the irony in the story which is just like the situation in our reality.
We invent solid security measures to protect our information and communications and at the same time some of us think about creating a ‘back door’ to secure the ‘front door’.
Tim Cook Says Apple Won’t Create Universal iPhone Backdoor For FBI