While the eyes of everyone in the technology sector watched the Apple-FBI feud about a key to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, you should have been watching too. You might wonder why this situation affected you, and the reason is simple. If the government can unlock an allegedly locked phone’s operating system for one phone, it has the potential to unlock anyone’s phone. It’s a slippery slope as to reasons, but there are other things you should consider in this discussion.
What data do you store on your smartphone or other mobile devices? Like most people, you probably store your calendar and the phone numbers, email addresses, and street addresses of your family and friends. But do you store your bank name and account information? Do you store credit card information? Do you store your medical history, medications, surgeries, and list of doctors? Do you have an app that stores all of your passwords? How many apps do you use that can, and possibly do, access your device’s information? Do you enable your GPS so that your location can be tracked as you move from place to place?
When you consider all the information you store on your device or devices, do you really think they should contain so much confidential or personally identifiable information (PII)? What happens if your device is lost or stolen? The potential risk of having your data fall into the wrong hands is the same situation as having your phone unlocked by a government employee.
According to David Pierson, tech reporter for the LA Times, (http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-apple-fbi-explainer-20160329-snap-htmlstory.html), “This fight between the world’s biggest company by market cap and federal law enforcement likely won’t be the last of its kind. For tech companies, there’s one clear takeaway: Security can never be strong enough. And for investigators, the case will only reinforce the push for a bigger digital crime-fighting toolbox. Expect an arms race in encryption tools that will continue to frustrate law enforcement – perhaps until legislation sets guidelines for both sides.”
Perhaps, this situation is the impetus you need to re-evaluate the data stored on your device. Use it to do a spring cleaning of sorts and remove the data that you don’t access on a regular basis. Delete apps you don’t use on a regular basis. Review privacy policies of apps you regularly use.
Make your mobile device something that works for you, rather than a mini version of you and your confidential data.
Image Credit: Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net