When Secure Doesn’t Mean Private

by NathalieG on September 2, 2013 - 11:00pm

Smart phones are a part of our daily lives.  In North America, we find it surprising when someone tells us they do not have a cell phone.  However, privacy is a growing issue when we think about technology.  Hackers can get into our phones or computers easily and these can hold private information about us.  These hackers can steal ones identity or get into people’s bank accounts if they hack into someone’s phone or computer.

According to the article "Stealth Wear, Coming to a Store Near You" by Jenna Wortham in the New York Times on August 31th, 2013, a protective cover for phones has been created and will be sold.  This protective cover would stop waves from getting to the phone, so others would not be able to hack into it.  The idea is very appealing, but at the same time raises an ethical issue.  If the protective cover stops hackers from getting into the phone, it also stops government officials from getting into it, and protecting our security.


Is the right to privacy more important than the right to security?


The question on whether it is ethical for government officials to hack potential criminal’s phones in order to get more knowledge on these people intentions get’s asked a lot.  They have stopped many criminal plans by hacking into criminal’s phone’s, e-mails, or computers, but people still wonder if they have the right to look though someone’s phone, since this person has the right to privacy.  However, with this phone case, the question must be flipped around.  What if government officials could not protect us by hacking into a phone or electronic device?  Our safety could be at risk.


Ostensibly, the protective phone cover can seem like a good idea.  Hackers cannot get into one’s phone or get their private information.  It protects their right to privacy, so there should not be any problem with it.


However, at deeper view, the phone case does not only stop hackers from getting honest people’s information, but it also stops government officials from hacking into criminal’s phones.  We have all heard stories about police arresting someone for planning bombings by texts.  If the phone’s had not been hacked into, these bombing would have happened and many people would have died or been injured.  Hacking and invading someone’s privacy is wrong, but if it can save someone life, then these things are needed.


We all know criminals would do everything in their power not to get caught, so they would probably be the first to get their hands on one of these protective covers.  Would there be a way to protect innocent people’s privacy while still being protected and safe?