Privacy versus Protection – where you stand on the debate?

There’s been a lot of news lately about privacy versus protection in the US American news, largely focused upon current events related to the US government, Apple, Google and others.  It was also a great topic of discussion at RSA with the panel titled “Can a Government Encryption Backdoor and Privacy Coexist?” with Michelle Dennedy, the Chief Privacy Officer of Cisco, Richard Marshall (XSES Consultants), former General Counsel for the NSA, and Dr. Matthew Green, the Economist’s go-to source for encryption technologies.

It wasn’t so long ago that Snowden ripples led to highly emotional debates, and distrust, of the US government and others by some.  However, if one looks more closely at the facts of the situation and what was really said or done in various situations people have a different perspective.   Governments, secrets, and the world of spies is a complex world trivialized in many regards in Hollywood and even in the press with such disclosures.  Few study such issues beyond common opinion to discover truth for themselves.  As a top quoted security expert globally in 2006 I can tell you that I have first hand experience with highly negative interactions with some media personal who border on unethical and certainly unprofessional based upon how they wrote “unbiased” reports.  That said I have many trusted friends in the same industry whom I respect for their level of accuracy and ethics in their reporting job.  Again, it’s a complex world so do not judge it but do seek truth with diligence instead of just having an opinion swayed by the last Facebook video you watched or conversation you had over a meal.

So then, back to the core issue of privacy and protection.  Do you believe it’s a good thing for governments and law enforcement to be enabled to perform monitoring and evidence collection to meet their mission needs?  E.g. the FBI having the ability to tap into a phone of a suspected terrorist seeking to kill Americans.  Or, do you believe that privacy is more important or is a moral issue?

There will also be tricky situations to address that don’t fit the common needs; take for example the need for a company that provides security the ability to do business in the US providing encrypted services via mobile devices – and then you’ll have to decide from a regularly and compliance standpoint if that is acceptable to meet your needs of privacy and protection.

Having fought for the security and safety of people in my home country you can guess where I stand on the issue.  I take my freedom seriously.  I take the safety of others in my community and my country seriously.  I take it seriously that it’s my job to contribute to society wherever I can, here and abroad.  I also already assume that dozens of countries have the capabilities and are listening to our conversations, stealing, reading, and monitoring our emails, and more, all without any public debate.  I know where I stand, do you?