Freedom, Security, and Encryption: A Modest Proposal
Freedom, security, and encryption have been on our minds since the terrorist attacks in Brussels, and in San Bernardino, and the FBI’s attempts to coerce Apple into helping unlock the terrorists’ phone. Finding a way through the maze while maintaining accord with our conservative values ofttimes takes some thought. Following is a modest proposal.
As conservatives, we maintain primarily three beliefs:
Non-intrusive government, for liberty and low taxation
Security, through a strong military and effective security apparatus
Sane society, where the government acts to uphold our values
We know that government is incompetent, except in managing the complexities of the military and the security apparatus including the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Our economic well-being rests on maintaining a market free of government regulation. For this reason, it is contrary to our principles that the government would use its authority to violate our deregulation, free-market principles and force a company like Apple to accede to the government’s wishes in cracking the smartphone of the San Bernardino terrorists. If the government has the power to force companies to collaborate with it, where will such regulation end?
But if the government can’t make companies cooperate in the national interest, is there other recourse? There is, and it lies in our conservative belief that one of our government’s roles is to promote a sane society. We see this act of government at work when states such as North Carolina pass laws requiring women who have decided to abort a pregnancy to first undergo an ultrasound, which will be sent to the state government’s Department of Health and Human Services for viewing and archiving. The idea at work here is that the presumed privacy between doctor and patient should not prevent the government from ensuring that laws are being carried out which enable a sane society, one where baby-killing can be minimized.
Professionals such as doctors must cooperate with government in upholding values and the law. So, too, should professionals who are responsible for products which terrorists might use to commit their crimes and cover their tracks. Just as we require registration of doctors, we can require registration of computer software and hardware professionals. Such a registration list would include engineering specialities such as encryption. Then, when a need arises like the one with the San Bernardino terrorists, the government could reach out to these professionals, sequester them in an appropriate environment, and give them the freedom to help the government maintain national security. Such an approach would accord with our conservative principles: a government allowing companies freedom from regulation while ensuring security and a sane society through the targeted utilization of citizen professionals.