One expects the National Security Agency (NSA) to deter tech giants like Google and Apple from encrypting data on their gadgets. But also expected from a major intelligence agency is to be 'intelligent' when propagating their anti-privacy doctrine.
NSA's former general counsel Stewart Baker made a loose argument and is currently the laughing stock of the tech world. At the recent Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, Baker said that Google and Apple will end up like Blackberry if they keep on trying to encrypt user data on their smartphone platforms.
“Blackberry pioneered the same business model that Google and Apple are doing now — that has not ended well for Blackberry," Baker said. “They restricted their own ability to sell. We have a tendency to think that once the cyberwar is won in the U.S. that that is the end of it — but that is the easiest war to swim.”
He further claimed that Blackberry plummeted like it did because it refused to cater to the requirements of government officials in Russia and China who wanted their gadgets to be more hackable.
What Baker said is obviously flawed on multiple levels. Blackberry devices' heightened security is not the reason it lost its market share to Samsung and Apple. In fact, it was the only thing that kept their loyal customers intact when all the others had left. Even today, a number of world leaders prefer BB phones primarily because it is much harder to crack then the regular app-heavy devices.
Blackberry's model of business was far from ideal, and certainly not the one to emulate, but distorting the facts to use it to their advantage is a shameful feat. If anything, data encryption would boast iPhones and Android phones' market instead of taking anything away.
Baker's propaganda against online privacy is nothing new. He has written extensively about it and rarely passes up on the opportunity of portraying the NSA in positive light. While in his previous attempts he at least offered half-logical arguments, this time, though, he has outdone himself with the ridiculous Blackberry example.
Needless to say, he isn't well-liked on the Internet, with memes such as this perfectly reflecting his philisophy: