At this point, I’m not sure if some officials actually don’t understand complicated issues, or if they’re pretending not to in order to get their way. In either case, Last Week Tonight’s segment about encryption is terrifying, and for once, it’s not because of the shocking advancements in technology that most people don’t understand.
Just to make sure it’s covered, way to go on the intelligent and hysterical story again, John.
But we need to talk about how clearly out of touch with actual technology a lot of the people featured in the video are. Specifically FBI Director James Comey. Here’s what he said in this clip:
I think Silicon Valley is full of great people who, when they were younger, were told “your dreams are too hard. They were standing in a garage someplace. They were told ‘it can’t be done.’ Thank goodness they didn’t listen.
Well that’s great, Mr. Comey. And 100 percent irrelevant to the topic at hand. The fact that you’ve completely bought into the marketing campaign put forth by the tech industry (doesn’t it seem like every goddamn company started in some dude’s garage?), doesn’t mean that the thing you’re asking for is possible. What’s shocking, and frankly a big effing problem, is how out of date your references regarding the tech industry are. Within his own completely irrelevant musings, he acknowledges that the idea he has of technology experts is from “when they were younger.” Even within his own unrealistic images of what it’s like to work with technology, his reference point is historical. If the Secretary of Transportation, during sworn testimony, started talking about how he imagines a father teaching his son how to drive stick, behind the wheel of a giant, gas guzzling Chevy Nova, we would know how fucked up that is. Because that image in no way resembles the reality of what his day-to-day job should be.
And at this point, I acknowledge that there will remain a large technology gap for some people. There’s no point in explaining to Trump why Bill Gates can’t just “turn off the internet” (or that Bill Gates didn’t really have anything to do with the development of the internet. Nor does Bill Gates actually “own” the internet, so he doesn’t have the authority to do that. And actually, no single person “owns” the internet, so there are just a lot of things wrong about that sentence). It’s not wrong for people to admit that based on their age, lack of prior understanding, or unfamiliarity with the subject means that they’ll just never understand technology. It is wrong for them to pretend that that lack of understanding somehow changes reality.