Fatima’s Next Email Could Be Read By The Government (She Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)

Insider 20 Oct , 2020 0

In case you don’t live in UK, one of their goverment agency concted a misfortunate ad campaign to attract people into tech and cyber-security. You can probably find it in online papers

I’ve watched amused as the vocal reactions of the Twitter-, Reddit- and Facebook-sphere unfolded, condeming the UK government for being insensitive to the artists.

Perhaps it is. Virtual ink ran about the subject and I don’t have the eloquence to add more to the subject. I think the message of the ad was not supposed to be taken literally and also not referred to ballet dancers specifically, but I’m going to disgress a bit on this ad taken at face value.

There is this Royal Navy recruitment ad that runs on British TV. I don’t think the message is very much different: some young guy working as a butcher realizes he can’t be all he can be (or was this the slogan of US Army?) and joins the army. Nobody reacted that it might be offensive to do a job importance hierarchy (a soldier is better than a butcher, or, on a similar ad, a trolley pusher at a super-market).

Back to the ad in question. I’ve had the chance to know and train with professional dancers (coming from either a classical or contemporary formal dance background) during my days as a swing dancer. Yeah, I’m a programmer who dances, boohoo. I’ve talked with them and, sure, it’s not a relevant slice, but these people often hold multiple jobs – dancing was not always their main source of income. I would guess that, as a dancer, unless you’re part of a dance troupe with a certain amount of fame, you’d be struggling for money. Also aware that these people hated desk jobs with a passion, so chance for a dancer to end up in a desk job are slim. But life is strange.

But really, this is not what this rant is about, as the title suggests. It is about the fact that, in the same time-frame, a much more impactful piece of news ran: the Five Eyes Alliance, plus India and Japan, are seeking legal measures to force tech companies to leave back doors into their products for law enforcement, and, thus, break end-to-end encryption.

The reaction of the hashtags on social media? Zero. Nobody gives/gave a crap.

But it should. This is much more important than a botched goverment recruitment ad.

Maybe it makes sense. Maybe the ballerina will end up in cyber, reading Whatsapp messages obtained through a voluntary back-door introduced by Facebook.

Back-door into end-to-end encryption is not about John Doe messaging with their ex while in bed with their partner. Or about John Doe watching tentacle porn. Or doing something contrary to the Victorian morals. No. In one of the many cases, John Doe may happen to be a journalist, then he can be blackmailed by the government to reveal sources or materials. If such materials relate to some shit the goverment did. Because this is the essence of politics.

The western goverments won’t seek to silence voices that criticize Fatima the ballerina ad (although, in India, they might). They have learned, by now, that giving the illusion of freedom of speech is enough for the general public to be kept in a state of content. This really pertains to stuff that matters, stuff that you don’t see in the news.

I’m a living as a guest in UK, so I don’t have a voice, political or social. If you’re an UK citizen, spend your energy on this stuff that matters.

Written by
Stefan Dicu
Owner of Piron Games and game developer.


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