Thank you, Merriam-Webster, but I’ll add “showing a lack of ability or willingness to learn” to the definition.
I’ll start with a public service announcement. There is a bill on the floor in New York that aims to force tech companies to reduce or remove encryption from all manufactured devices in an aim to thwart terrorism and crime in general. Presidential candidates love this idea. The sentiment is admirable, but the execution is a special kind of stupid.
Strong words, I know. But I think that if I spend a few minutes explaining what I mean, I think you will agree.
Reason number 1: preventing innocent people from using strong encryption won’t stop criminals from spending a few minutes setting up their own encryption. This isn’t the “criminals will always be able to get guns” argument (even if it sounds an awful lot like it). It seriously takes very little effort to set up encrypted communication on your own. It isn’t just multi-billion dollar companies that are capable of using strong encryption. You’re not solving anything by taking protection away from innocent people.
Reason number 2: preventing strong encryption will be very profitable for criminals. If encryption is easy enough for companies or the government to break, it’s easy enough for the evil version of me to crack. Or for terrorists to crack. If you thought your identity was easy to steal now, just think what will happen when thieves start picking the locks on these backdoors.
Reason number 3: it’s bad for business. How will banks keep your records private? I keep hearing the argument that you shouldn’t worry if you don’t have anything to hide. Does anyone seriously believe they have absolutely nothing to hide? (If you truly believe you have nothing to keep private, please send your credit card numbers, SSNs, and PINs my direction….) Every big tech company in the U.S. has made a case against these laws, but the government is somehow still refusing to listen to the actual experts in their field.
To recap, backdoors reduce safety, incentive criminal activities, and ruin businesses. All the experts in the tech sector agree that backdoors are a terrible idea, but a majority of presidential candidates right now still want backdoors built in to every website and application. Please help put an end to stupid! You can read about where Republican and Democrat candidates stand on the issue here (hint: it doesn’t look good; there are only a few that get it). If you are planning to vote for a third-party candidate, good for you! You probably already understand this issue and know that your candidate is against mandatory backdoors. Please also let your Congress members know how you stand. This issue is going to make it to the national floor very soon.