My writing has been sparse over the past few months. For those that enjoy reading my ramblings, I apologize for not rambling more often. I’ve been mentally occupied over recent weeks and months.
As far as data security goes, I know I fall short of Krebs, Schneier, and so many others. However, I believe I have an inside track on them as my perspective on data and security is born from a biblical worldview. Solid believers forging new ground seems to be a rare thing.
I’m going to take a short, but necessary, rabbit trail, then get to the point of this post. My worldview begins with a loving God that built mankind for the purpose of worship and relationship. Since God has an attribute of love, there must must be the ability for God to extend His love, even through eternity’s past. Unlike Islam, the God of the Bible was and is able to love something… God the Son. Allah didn’t have a Son to bless with love, so apparently, he just loves himself (selfishness, and this attribute can be seen all throughout the Koran). I’m just making distinctions here, the distinction of love is critical, and I’ll get back to it later.
Relationship is the centerpiece of this worldview. A relationship with mankind is broken by sin. God gives the ability to renew that relationship through the blood of His Son. Then He even gives us the Holy Spirit so that Christ never leaves us.
What makes up a relationship? Interaction, right? Communication. Trust. Love. Commitment. Obedience. Etc, etc. God invented relationship. Relationship is such a cool invention, that man tried to recreate it.
Man created digital data. Man wanted a recording medium and started with stone tablets. That medium started in analog, like a vinyl record. But due to spacial limitations, man was driven to record more and more on less and less. The first recording device could just hold a few seconds. Then vinyl albums could hold a few songs, then 10 songs, and now iPods, phones, and computers, can hold thousands of songs. Though we could hold so much, it wasn’t enough, so man invented music streaming where one could select from millions on songs.
Music is such a cool thing and a positive example of how man overcame a challenge, let’s now look at phones. The early phones called into a switchboard. The switchboard operator would connect a call. This process was cumbersome, so eventually man created automatic switching when dialing a number. This was awesome, but you still had to have a physical line. Radio communications eventually made it possible so that almost everyone has a phone in their pocket.
And mail? It used to be carried by horses, then by cars. You had to wait for a letter. So, man made it more efficient by using electrical impulses representing ones and zeros to take a letter from point A to point B at near the speed of light. Man also augmented that ability by putting it in a smartphone in your pocket.
Ok, let’s get to the point. The point is that man’s inventions have moved into a pivotal part of the relationship stream. There are two problems now. One has to do with security. The other has to do with relationship.
1 – Security: How can broken man create security? He can’t. He can theorize how it should be done, but corrupt man is incapable of pulling it off. Time + Secure System = Broken System. You can apply this to the systems you trust on a daily basis. Man continually filters his vision with a lens of deceit, thinking that he can fix the problem when he can’t.
2 – Relationship: The purpose of these inventions is to augment relationship. The augmentation of relationship using a digital medium only cheapens the relationship over time. Conversations become shallower. Selfishness abounds (just look at the selfie phenomena). Worse than just the relationship breakdown is the perceived dependence on the device (whether phone, computer, or whatever).
This doesn’t mean I can’t use technology. It does mean that I cannot trust it. It also means that I must keep the device in perspective with God design man for interaction. Digital interaction can only take a relationship so far. Seeing a smile from my wife in a facetime chat does not equal seeing it in person. Digital data falls short of providing any meaningful relationship. Data is only a cheap interface. When I use a phone, I need to remain focused on who I am connected with on the other end, the device is just a gateway for communications.
One might argue that the Bible must also be a cheap interface from God to man. This is simply not true. First, the Bible is Divinely inspired, making it a collection of books that spans time. Second, the Bible is one piece of God’s relationship. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. There is a relationship that is within instead of just reading a book. There is conviction when we read the errors of our ways. There is encouragement when we discover God’s promises. All these things point us back to God.
Back to the issue at hand. Seeing the nature of man and his desire to become dependent on his own invention is very discouraging. Sinful man sits at the center. Sinful man acts like the switchboard operator. Even in automatic switching, someone can still look at the logs. Man cannot be trusted.
We all know there are bleak times coming. Christians will continually be on the radar. Data is making it easier and easier to compromise people. So, my question is this. Will you be able to let go of the data? Could you let go of your cell phone? How about email? Could you rely on the relationships you have with those that you can see face to face?
I have a love-hate relationship with my phone… and technology in general I guess. I think the first step for me is to again step away from using a smartphone (or leave it at work) and go back to dumb phone and practice leaving it behind. There are many that have prepared all sorts of things, like preparing and storing food, working on defense skills, and practicing a bug-out drill. But, who of us has really practiced walking away from data?