Privacy – Digital Encryption Today and for Our Grandchildren

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  amukalel 7 months ago.

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  • #5884


    One of the topics underlying many of our discussions about human enhancement is privacy. As our personal technology, like phones or anything included in the Internet of Things, become more and more prevalent, our society must increasingly deal with privacy issues of greater importance. Our enhancements are becoming more and more an extension of our minds, so in light of the recent conflict over encryption between the FBI and Apple, might it be prudent for us to consider that access to our phones today is about access to our minds tomorrow? This case makes clear a step our society has already taken – security in the digital world is as important as security in the physical one, but the digital world has perfect locks and is not constrained by physical space. For example, if the deactivation code for a bomb were locked in a safe, police could eventually destroy the safe, but if the deactivation code were locked in a phone, or a memory implant in a person’s brain, there may actually be no possible way to break the digital lock on that enhancement. Digital locks can be totally unbreakable. So then, when we consider what the just and fair thing is to do, should governments legislate that enhancements all have some sort of bypass or back door for everyone’s safety, emulating our locks in the physical world? Those on Apple’s side of the case argue no, that we cannot create a digital lock that can be opened only by the good guys and not the bad – but will technology ever make this a possibility? Or as our minds are enhanced and secured by technology, will legislated weakness in encryption always be a bad thing?

  • #5887


    Violation of privacy will become something that we will need to pay close attention too with the evolution of enhancement technologies. I agree that more and more of our minds will be extended into physical or digital devices. However, I disagree with the notion that there is a possibility of unbreakable digital technology created by humans. If a human can create technology, there is another human with the capabilities to break it as well. Whether implants or nuclear weapons, throughout history the most ‘secure’ systems have been breached. However, if we create a form of artificial intelligence with greater intelligence and cognitive capabilities than humans, they could create something that we could not crack. Humans face privacy invasions every day and that is something we will need to be careful of. However, a serious threat to human security would be posed if the technology was no longer being created by the human brain. This is a cheesy example, but the movie Eagle Eye demonstrates this invasion of privacy of a highly intelligent machine. This machine stores human activity, and has it’s own super brain that regulates multiple facets of society. This is extreme, but the point remains that the biggest threat to our privacy will be if AI creates the technologies, and that no technology created by humans will every be unbreakable for another human.

  • #5894


    The implicit invasions of privacy that could come along with advanced technology should be considered as well. As technology advances, more and more of our private information is catalogued, and while this can be very helpful for us in many situations, it also opens us up for many profound invasions of privacy. For example, even if no one was trying to break through security systems in place for brain-machine interface technology, the precedent has already been established that corporations that provide a software need not give full ownership to the end user. If the current licensing system stays in place, corporation could easily hide claused in the EULAs that allow them to collect enormous amounts of data from within people’s minds. While this might seem less sinister than someone at a government agency listening to your thoughts, it could have a profound impact on our culture. Data gathering techniques like this, except on things like internet browsers and computer operating systems, have already allowed companies to target us much more easily than was previously possible. When applied to the mind, these techniques could create firms with perfect price discrimination, or any other number of incredible advantages. Before we worry about how people hacking our minds against our will, we should make sure we don’t voluntarily open our brains to invaders without realizing what we are doing.

  • #5910


    With technologies such as brain-to-brain communication and brain-machine interfaces, are we, to a small degree, implicitly consenting the invasion of our privacy? Obviously no one will want to get the technologies if anyone can access their brains at any given moment. But by adopting these technologies, you are giving someone the conditional power to look into your mind. You are opening the most private portion of who you are and enabling the possibility for someone or something to take a look inside. If you open a door, isn’t it naïve to believe that no one will take a look inside? A big part of the advent of these radically new technologies is how they will change how we view privacy. If we choose to use a newer, flashier device, then we enter a contract in which we more than likely have to give something in return. This idea isn’t totally uncommon; a lot of user agreements often have small clauses that give a bit more information to companies than users would probably like. The difference is that in the future you will be giving up these things in more profound ways, tracking web searches is drastically different from a company viewing your dreams. In the process of buying these machines we should be aware that we are enabling more profound breaches of our privacy, and we should expect these breaches to occur.

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