Why Cameras Will (Probably) Never Protected By An Encryption System

More and more pressure on the media and relating to the tapping of mass scandals led journalists to ask manufacturers to offer solutions for the protection of sources. A query that has little chance of success.

This is a first: journalists and documentary filmmakers are asking manufacturers of devices photo and video to integrate systems of encryption of their images directly inside their enclosures. Directed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation (Foundation for freedom of the press, USA) and signed by more than 200 reporters including Laura Poitras, Director of the documentary on Edward Snowden, this call is done in a context increasingly repressive and dangerous for many journalists.

We think to, right, to those who are trying to get out of the country information prisons as the North Korea or Turkmenistan, journalists operating in conflict areas such as the Middle East, the citizen journalists and opponents of the regime living in Iran, etc.

No one is safe

You say that these needs concern only journalists operating in “non-democratic” areas? Think again: no later than the last month, the Canadian Ed or was denied, without justification, the entry into the United States while he was covering protests against the pipeline in the State of North Dakota.With the key, a search in the proper manner of his laptop and Smartphone.No war, no dictator, just an increasingly repressive police and constantly extended powers.

Unlikely gesture on the part of Canon and Nikon

It’s certainly a bit peremptory to assert that no constructor will not move on the issue, two actors should be less likely to move than others: Canon and Nikon. The ‘big’ have indeed from many contracts, sometimes at high level, with different forces, and even Governments.

In France for example, Nikon is a focal point of the police and army, the brand with the yellow and black logo, his defence and interior ministries. Of the ECPAD, image and communication Department of the army through the judicial police, the overwhelming majority of french services rely on Nikon – which is particularly appreciated for its boxes in low light performance. The situation is reversed in some countries, where Canon dominates, but the result is that these two Japanese brands, a country known for its cultivation of the restraint of the consensus and obedience, are not in their DNA to take on the role of the White Knight protecting the civil society.

And even if that were the case, Governments and ministries represent beautiful contracts and have more weight than a list of concerned journalists. Especially in the current context of the collapse of the photo market, whose sales volumes have been slashed by the success of smartphones. Although such if specific needs was in the list of possible developments, ” it would be at the bottom of the list of priorities “, explained a manager of Nikon France, stressing that the challenge of the moment “is to offer the best cameras” .Which is understandable, since the solution is not easy to implement.

Technical puzzle

Even if the builders were ready, the encryption of the content in the device many problems. Ergonomic first, because obviously would have to find a system – PIN, fingerprint – locking/unlocking of data, which would generate a long step in handling the device. Then, any system can be broken, making it difficult for manufacturers to ensure the inviolability of privacy: most government services have ways to overcome any kind of public protection. Apart from the fact that such a solution would increase the price of the devices consistently, the holders of the said cases would be suspicious of de facto.

All this does not mean that the problem has no solution, but just that it is quite unlikely to come from manufacturers of cameras.