Privacy: Does Twitter finally get it?
Encryption isn’t always about doing something illegal. We live in a time when bored kids can hack entire servers with a smart phone, and understanding that a need for more complex and increased security is not always the sign of illegal activity seems to be a nuance not every government agency has caught on to.
Twitter is showing a greater understanding of the need to protect the privacy of others. In a move that in the very least ups Twitters’ credibility, the original social media dynamo has gone further than every to protect users from cyber snooping. By changing the way that the database and information is encrypted by using a method called forward encryption, Twitter users are safer than ever before from all sorts of digital nosiness and potential information leaks, even from someone who has knowledge of the server.
However, the main motivation for these increased security measures seems mostly in place to protect users from the government and internet law-makers themselves.
Twitters’ investment in forward security came shortly after the New York Times published an article outlining a five page document written by the National Security Association speaking out against encryption and increased cyber security as something that prevents the NSA from acquiring information it feels it needs. While the document itself does not outline the legal and political avenues it plans on taking, it does state that policies and laws about technology will also have to become more adaptable in the wake of this need.
This is the second article the New York Times has written about the NSA in the past few months, the previous one outlining how the NSA has abilities to get around most encryption and security measures such as digital scrambling, which protects everything from medical records to emails. This occurs despite assurances from the companies that own this information that the information stored is secure, just as the NSA wants them to.
While Twitter did not reference this directly, they did link to an NSA related blog post, and said that https, and increased web security ought to become the norm, and pretty much left it at that.
This type of a response from a social media service that is used by so many is heartening to say the least. Twitter promoting encryption, even indirectly, is a small but meaningful voice of resistance when Facebook and Google all but remain mum on situations like this while constantly refreshing their privacy policies.
Obviously opposing transparency is not necessarily a solution, but the idea that we willingly give up all our information and our right to privacy when we use a service, is ludicrous. The attitude of if you have nothing to hide, you would want nothing hidden, makes about as much sense as leaving your door unlocked and wide open every time you leave the house.
Privacy and being up to something are not mutually exclusive, and it’s refreshing to see a social media platform, especially one as respected as Twitter, taking any sort of stand in the protection of information, as minor as it may seem, will hopefully force other social media sites to stand up and take notice.
Image Source: The Hindu