There is a huge debate in the public sphere right now that is sort of related to videogames — The FBI/United States government wants Apple to remove the encrypting privacy protections on iPhones and other devices. They wish to break the encryption so they can look at the work phone of ISIS-affiliated Syed Farook, the guy who committed an act of terrorism on over a dozen people in San Bernadino, California. The phone is an iPhone, which sounds like a horrible device for a work phone.
Apparently, if you fail the password enough times when trying to access an iPhone, it deletes all the data on the phone. That's what the FBI is concerned about. However, Apple doesn't actually know the password either... and they don't want to find out or develop a backdoor to find out.
Here's CEO Tim Cook's letter to the public on the matter:
“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.You should read the whole letter. It makes a lot of sense and spells out Apple's position. For all of the negative crap I give Apple on and off this website, they're on the right side here.
The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.”How can I not side with that? Unfortunately, I don't represent the totality of public opinion. Enter Donald Trump.
|Donald Trump calling for an Apple boycott.|
Donald Trump vowing to only use his Android-powered Samsung phone from now on.
By the way, I don't “like” his Tweets. Change it back to Favourite, Twitter.
Apple stated in their letter that the backdoor would be a “master key” for all iPhone devices, not just the work phone used by the terrorist. It's not that Apple is a supporter of terrorism. It's actually the opposite: They don't want this master key to exist. It currently does not exist. What if it got into the wrong hands, or the government used it for surveillance purposes? If you think that sounds far-fetched, then consider two things:
- Terrorists get ahold of United States property all the time. ISIS's and other terrorists' weapons come from America. America literally gave guns to Mexican drug cartels and lost track of them. If criminals got this master key, the consequences would be catastrophic for cybersecurity. Since America's government can't be trusted to keep dangerous things out of the hands of dangerous people, the best preventative measure is to never create a master key. Terrorists are already becoming sophisticated in cyber warfare — they may develop a key themselves. Apple should continually strengthen protection, not weaken it!
- The United States government loves the surveillance state, and they tried to lie about its existence. Thanks for letting us know, Edward Snowden!
Here's just one example of Donald Trump on film showing he doesn't know what he's talking about:
If Trump would rather just use his Android-powered device, here's what Google's CEO thinks about it:
|What the United States government wants to do is troubling...|
...So let's have a thoughtful and open discussion on a platform that talks 140 characters at a time!
...Why can't Google's CEO make statements on Google+? But it may seem that Google is siding with Apple, so Trump should just get off technology entirely.
Apple cannot afford to weaken the security features of its devices. We're in an era where cybersecurity is a massive problem, and bad actors are everywhere. Reducing your security features in the name of national security makes absolutely no sense. Americans are more likely to be safe if their information is kept protected and private than if they are purposefully made vulnerable to comply with the orders of a government that claims it wants to keep us safe.
Am I making it clear what a messed up situation this is? In what world is taking away safety features making people more safe? Of course, then you ask, “The government has an individualised warrant on this phone. They SHOULD be able to extract whatever information they can, as the government was able to do years ago before these increased security features! So what do you suggest we do, Ludwig?”
I don't know. I'm not a policymaker. I'm a commentator. Let's hear from a policymaker on the correct side of the issue:
According to Rand Paul, the FBI already has the necessary information on the terrorists. So... Anything more is a problem.
This is a troubling debate for the videogame industry. It was reported that the Sony PlayStation 4 could've been used to communicate a terrorist plot. A Forbes writer wrote that Super Mario Maker could be used for a terrorist communication that would be completely undetected by authorities.
“An ISIS agent could spell out an attack plan in Super Mario Maker’s coins and share it privately with a friend[.] [...] It may sound ridiculous, but there are many in-game ways of non-verbal communication that would almost be impossible to track. To do so would require an FBI or NSA agent somehow tapping all the activity on an entire console, not just voice and text chat, and that should not even be technically possible at this point.”If the federal government made this master key a thing, then terrorists will all buy Wii Us and start communicating via Super Mario Maker levels. This might raise Wii U sales a little bit, but it's an inadvisable situation. Remember when I wrote that if Hillary Clinton's Family Entertainment Protection Act were enacted, it would mandate that the Federal Trade Commission would have stringent regulation on pretty much all user activity on a videogame console, especially person-to-person communications?
That law failed to pass or even get a vote. However, the threat is returning. This time, it is not in the name of THE CHILDREN, but in the name of NATIONAL SECURITY. That's a hard argument to fight against, so it's in our best interest as an industry to try to educate the people before we get to that point.
I'm glad that Apple is leading that fight.
|On the left: These are called earbuds. They're awful. You look like a tool if you wear these.|
On the right: This is clip-art of headphones. These go over your whole ear. You look fine wearing these.
Just don't think this absolves Apple of my grudge against it. Apple is responsible for cratering the videogame industry with mobile garbage, leading people to believe that videogames don't have value. They're responsible for free-to-play nonsense. They're responsible for true content-based censorship within the videogame industry. They're responsible for turning a generation of illiterate ADHD young people into their zombies, and having them wear disgusting white earbuds. A young person literally described her earbuds to me as “headphones” recently, much to my horror. No, they're NOT headphones.
Donald Trump is correct that we should boycott Apple. It should be entirely because of what they've done to our young people and to our young industry, NOT because they refuse to comply with the FBI's outrageous requests to create a backdoor against encryption.
Ludwig has never paid for an Apple product or given Apple money. He uses iTunes as a music management system, but has never purchased anything from the iTunes Store. He's very concerned about governments spying on the people. By comparison, Koopa Kingdom does NOT conduct massive surveillance on its citizenry.
The NSA already looks at massively multiplayer online games, just not systematically or automatically.
Even though Ludwig disagrees with Trump's security stance, he endorsed him for president.
One gaming company designed its next-generation gaming console to shut the government out.