Making Processors with Your Own Sand

Anytime someone ruffles some feathers over the notion that a beloved company (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) or a service of software that someone is passionate about (Twitter, Firefox, etc.) is doing something heinous and maybe you recommend no longer using that service or whatever, sooner or later somebody pops up and says something to the effect of: “If you are so paranoid, you better go collect your own sand, bake your own silicon, and make your own processors!”, inferring that you’re so paranoid, how can you trust anything in your electronic device!

It’s not exactly an ad hominem attack, but it’s close enough. There’s no actual refutation of the evidence that you present to people about the loss of their privacy, anonymity, or security due to some recent news, software crack, or hardware crack. But generally that comment will get lots of faux social reinforcement on various social media through “likes”, “favorites”, or “+1’s”, simply because (in my opinion) the comment made relieves the populous’ tension. Everyone can just relax, this is just paranoia, don’t pay any attention to the evidence or the precedent, just keep going on about your business. “HAIL APPLE! HAIL GOOGLE!”, as the great John C. Dvorak would say.

Now there’s no need for this to be some long form blog post. I’ve gotten a lot of praise for what I’m doing at the Dark Android Project, and I’ve also gotten a lot of negative reactions. The praise comes with the statement of, “You are doing important work here whether people apply it or not”. The negativity–every single time–comes without evidence, and resorts to claiming I’m spreading “techno-panic” or rampant “paranoia”, and on down the list. Again, no evidence to refute the claims. Frankly, I’d love to read evidence to the contrary of what I post about and say at the Dark Android Project. I would love nothing more than to turn on an Android (or really any mobile) device like I did when I was younger with my Atari Lynx and not worry for two seconds that somehow my privacy or security was being compromised. That’d be great! Please, tell me how everything I’m saying is so wrong!

But there are far too many inconvenient truths to show that I am presenting factual information here, not conspiracy theories, and that my actionable recommendations are warranted (thanks go out to Barrett Brown, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Jacob Appelbaum, Thomas Drake, and all of the others I couldn’t begin to list here).

No doubt, there are some things where you just throw up your hands and say, “What else can I do?”, and everyone’s personal preference on where that threshold can be found is just that…it’s personal. It’s subjective. What I share here is objective, but what someone wants to do about it is subjective. I’ll just present the facts, and some recommendations. Like any other new information you receive, it’s up to you what you want to do with it. Unlike the horrendous system of Corporatism that we live under, I’m not going to force you to do anything.

Carpe lucem!