Code.org have started an initiative called “Hour of Code” in order to demonstrate that only one in ten schools in the US teach children how to code. I’m not sure I buy into the whole “coders are rockstars” thing because I work with coders and while this may skewed due to small sample size, my impression is that coders are more likely to throw their Aeropress into the sink and not wash it than a TV out a 15th-floor hotel room window.
While Joe Public is just catching on to this idea that anyone can learn to code, privacy scandals are now kind of unsurprising. We now know the breadth and depth of information that the NSA hold on us and that they have asked all major software manufacturers for backdoor access, so they can collect even more data. It will thus come as no surprise that a number of people now classify the US government as cyber criminals. Perhaps more surprising is that one of the biggest names in the world has thrown its name into this group: Microsoft.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Brad Smith stated that “government snooping potentially now constitutes an “advanced persistent threat,” alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks”. The blog post doesn’t specifically single out the US however the post leans towards the activities highlighted recently by Edward Snowden.
I never thought I’d be on Microsoft’s side of any argument. Then again, I also never thought that software giants and the government would be in a race to hire rockstars to work on encryption protocols, and that the private software firms would be winning.