What I want to discuss today is the interference of governments in what should be the private business and what are the consequences of an attitude so invasive. The news of this hour is that Nokia, RIM and Apple have provided to the Indian government, particularly its militia, a backdoor that provides the ability to control each mobile device.
Also at this time we learned that for similar reasons, Symantec has published the source code view of some of its products, source code, which had provided the Indian government to comply with an agreement.
There are many topics to be discussed, the use of backdoors for purposes of spying and surveillance, by the way in which governments impose their own policies, the risks faced by businesses due to interference.
A few hours ago I received a message on Twitter announcing that what had happened. There were found some Indian Military internal documents that refer to a project called RINOA SUR, where the world RINOA stay for RIM, NOkia and Apple. The project is related to a platform used to spy on the USCC—the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Following the images related to the main part of the documents from published on the web site Terminalx.org
The documents contain portions of emails sent by members of the USCC regarding the successfully usage of the RINOA SUR, and the Indian Navy has shown interest in the same. The documents suggest that RIM, NOKIA and Apple were required to providing backdoor access.
The scenario is that of technological India, a country that is experiencing a time of great political and social contradictions. A Nation in constant grow that is particularly distinguished for the cyber strategy, little attention to the privacy of its citizens. Monitoring systems, actions of censorship are the main themes at the center of a heated debate.
However, the situation is no different from many other countries. The story is the same, private companies to have contract provide support for surveillance and monitoring operations required by governments.
It had already happened in the recent past when hackers claim that german officials have a backdoor trojan for spying on Skype, and don’t forget the case of Carrier IQ, an hugly history that has been hidden to fast, maybe because the small company there was a Government commitment.
The risks are many, the interference of governments, the excessive attention paid in the name of security monitoring can easily spill over into censorship with possible serious repercussions. At stake there are the human rights that monitoring technologies contribute to violate. Assange was a prophet in this, and its portal SpyFile reminds us how utopian is the privacy concept in this digital age.
At risk are not citizens but also the same companies, infact in order to grab contracts and procurement they shake dangerous relationships with governments. This means that the same companies are increasingly targets of hackers and hacktivist groups that might, as happened, expose secrets and patents. A disaster for those who live and earn technology.
Security or privacy, a dilemma, a choice which sooner or later every government must do. Working accepting the blackmail of the government or leave the market, an obvious choice for companies at a time of global economic crisis.