Time to stop this theatre of the absurd. WebRTC isn’t going to save us from government scrutiny.
I am not sure about you, but I have this déjà vu from this weekend. Since the leak about the NSA getting data streams from various US companies, the web is running amok. And somehow, WebRTC guys are trying to ride this wave. To where? Who knows.
But let me first explain.
I’ve been in this industry for over a decade. Video conferencing uptake was dismal at best. Yes, enterprises adopted it, but somehow the whole industry when you looked at it wasn’t big. What do you do when that happens? You try to make people adopt it.
And with video conferencing, I’ve seen several iterations:
- Planes get crashed into buildings? Try to promote video conferencing over business trips
- Gas prices rise? Try to promote video conferencing over business trips
- A volcano eruption disrupts international flights? Try to promote video conferencing over business trips
Can you notice a pattern?
And now it seems that whenever there’s talk about privacy and security, people start promoting WebRTC as the savior. I’ll be the first to say security of WebRTC is top notch, but from that to solving humanity’s problems?
Just search social networks for WebRTC and security and see the amount of chatter in those echo chambers.
Yes, WebRTC does P2P for the media and enables encryption. But no – it is only a technology and how vendors will be using is what really matters. And there, I see more systems that will end up passing media through a server than not – just because it opens up more features and capabilities.
I had the opportunity to read Thomas Frey’s article about the end of theft this past week. It got me into thinking of many things, but coupled with what we see now, I think we can start debating about privacy – and the end of privacy. When everything gets connected, and when our own devices are always on, always listening to our voice commands and always watching us for our needs – where does WebRTC even play a role?
With this hyper connectedness comes the relinquishing of privacy. And it won’t be all bad mind you – it is also why two months ago I warmly suggested Ramez Naam’s science fiction book: Nexus.
Security is important. Privacy is as well. Governments not violating these rights and even promoting them is important. But from that to saying WebRTC is the solution?
We’re better than that. WebRTC has a lot of advantages, but I wouldn’t say that maintaining our privacy against governments and the powers that be is one of them.
And frankly, I don’t think WebRTC needs to be promoted that way to be successful.
I wouldn’t have burdened you with a post this weekend, but my G+ notifications were too much to bear without sharing.
Have a great weekend!