Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


I’ve hesitated to comment on the flurry of articles being written in the wake of the tragic attacks in Paris;1 I feel as though there’s still uncertainty that needs to be clarified, and grieving that must be done.

But there comes a time when we must address aspects of what occurred. In the aftermath, there has been a demonizing of encryption and technology. Trevor Timm, writing for the Guardian:

The entire encryption subject became a shiny scapegoat while the truth slowly trickled in: as of Tuesday, it was clear that American and/or French intelligence agencies had seven of the eight identified attackers on their radar prior to the attacks. The attackers used Facebook to communicate. The one phone found on the scene showed the terrorists had coordinated over unencrypted SMS text messages – just about the easiest form of communication to wiretap that exists today.

Encryption is not evil; it’s not even relevant in this discussion. But the now-necessary defence of encryption must be made by people who are diligent and knowledgable because they’re going up against heavyweights who think that a magic “golden key” exists.

  1. And what about Beirut? One of the best articles to come out in the past couple of weeks is from Max Fisher writing at Vox, noting that the media did not ignore Beirut — we did↩︎