In her spot-on meta-explanation (sociologists to the rescue!) of the recently revealed security flaws affecting almost any processor used in today’s computers, Zeynep Tufekci delivers a chilling analysis why,
as a citizen of a world in which digital technology is increasingly integrated into all objects — not just phones but also cars, baby monitors and so on — it is past time to panic.
The technical debt accrued from design compromises in hardware that was never designed to handle almost the entire lives of us modern-day “cyborgs”. Security got sacrificed for speed. And with the “faster, faster” mantra lifted to the altar of technical progress, it seems, human values once again fell by the wayside in the process.
Tufekci finds the ultimate analogy to summarize:
If commercial airplanes fell out of the sky regularly, we wouldn’t just shrug. We would invest in understanding flight dynamics, hold companies accountable that did not use established safety procedures, and dissect and learn from new incidents that caught us by surprise. And indeed, with airplanes, we did all that. There is no reason we cannot do the same for safety and security of our digital systems.