Big Brother & Encryption

Yes, I own a Blackberry, as do many individuals for personal and professional use.  Because the cell-phone business is highly competitive, the fact that numberless people—allegedly ninety percent of the U.S. population—own a cell phone is a bad market reality for the makers of the smartphones, Research in Motion (RIM).  Why?  Since there is such a glut, a surfeit, of phones in this country, RIM is compelled to go to new markets so that the company can continue to grow, make profits, and stay in front of the competition.  It is a necessity to do this expansion in a capitalist economy that is cutthroat, dog-eat-dog, and based on the logic of greed.

Hence, when countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and others, including China and Russia, balk at some of the impregnable security RIM has installed in its devices, the art of compromise comes into play.  So much so, that the company must resolve the issues these countries have with the encrypted services while still having the go-ahead to enter their telecommunications electronic gadgetry industry.

We in the United States might point the finger at these countries by saying they are too conservative, repressive, and unsophisticated, but we must remember the adage that three fingers are pointing back at us.  The nature of the capitalist game is to corner as much of the market niche that is possible and to work indefatigably to that end.  In essence, it is to become a monopoly, like Microsoft, Wal-Mart, the former American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), and Google, to name a few.

A monopoly can be looked at both positively and negatively.  On the one hand, cornering a market or being primarily associated with a particular product is usually a marker of success.  You have arrived!  On the other hand, such “success” stifles competition and enslaves consumers.  John Sherman, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and others are figuratively rolling around in their graves!

One aspect of the ordeal that is admirable, in this blogger’s opinion, is the power demonstrated by the threat of a ban or a boycott.  In the commercial world, such threats are anathema and they usually result in repressive actions or compromise battles.  At bottom, they are designed to attack sales and profits, and no company chiefs want to stare the potential of losing business and capital based on a disagreement that could be resolved.  Would that peoples in the United States utilized the economic boycott in creative ways to encourage more livable wages and fairer employment practices!

In the final analysis, protection smartphone owners with doubly encrypted messaging are something worth keeping.  Encroaching upon the expansionistic desires of a market giant is one thing; prohibiting placing a premium on privacy is quite another—especially when the rubric of national security is used.  If governments want to spy upon their own people, not to mention other persons in their countries, through cell phones, then they should use their hired help to find ways to outsmart the manufacturers and not try to force these company leaders to deny citizenship rights and liberties to their own citizens.

About mdbwell

Pres., Project for the Beloved Community, Inc.; B.A.--Wesleyan University; M.Div.--Yale University; Ph.D.--Boston University; Summer Study--Harvard University; Social ethicist; Ordained minister; Advocate for the poor
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