Two of technology's most pioneering developers have strongly criticised the current state of the industry, warning that the right to encryption is doomed.
Governments here and abroad are pushing for wider surveillance powers and access to encryption software. Big Brother doesn't just want to watch, he wants to listen, record and store too.
Phil Zimmerman, the creator of PGP and current lead at Silent Circle, which developed the encrypted Blackphone, feels surveillance and snooping has become so pervasive in western countries like the UK and US that he's taking his company to a country that he believes still respects privacy: Switzerland.
"Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way. [British society is] too accepting of surveillance," he said as he announced the planned move.
"We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We don't want to become like North Korea. We are less likely to encounter legal pressures [in Switzerland] than in the US."
Zimmerman warned that the UK is sleepwalking into a surveillance state by blindly trusting in the actions of government.
"People [in the UK] have a comfortable relationship with their own government and maybe that's why they don't raise objection to it," he said.
"Future governments that come to power might not be so nice, and if they inherit a surveillance infrastructure then they could use this to create an incumbency that cannot be changed."
Zimmerman's words of warning are echoed everywhere, as are government moves to squat over communications. Tim Berners-Lee, a man with equal technology weight, has just come down hard on refreshed UK government surveillance plans, and told the public to oppose them as strongly as possible.
"This discussion is a global one, it's a big one, it's something that people are very engaged with, they think it's very important, and they're right, because it is very important for democracy, and it's very important for business," he said.
"When people saw that GCHQ was doing things that even the Americans weren't So now I think, if Britain is going to establish a leadership situation, it's going to need to say: ‘We have solid rules of privacy, which you as an individual can be assured of, and that you as a company can be assured of.'"
Even the UN has cautioned on surveillance creep, and in a report last week special rapporteur David Kaye said that the limiting of encryption is a direct threat of personal liberty, human rights and free expression. He, and his report, recommend that nation states halt any plans to restrict access to such tools and instead embrace freedom.
"Blanket prohibitions fail to be necessary and proportionate. States should avoid all measures that weaken the security that individuals may enjoy online, such as backdoors, weak encryption standards and key escrows."
The US Senate has just made moves to limit bulk surveillance, having voted to sunset the controversial section 215 of the US Patriot Act. However, this comes at a time when moves to increase National Security Agency powers, through the USA Freedom Act, are afoot.
Privacy groups have suggested that no matter what changes, and no matter what announcements the government makes, the desire to surveil and limit freedom will always remain.
"The story being spun by the defenders of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the Obama administration is that, if the law sunsets entirely, the government will lose critical surveillance capabilities. The fearmongering includes president Obama," said the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"So how real is this concern? Not very. Section 215 is only one of a number of largely overlapping surveillance authorities, and the loss of the current version of the law will leave the government with a range of tools that is still incredibly powerful."
Meanwhile free software advocate and pioneer Richard Stallman has painted a very bleak picture of today's technology and communications environment, describing proprietary software as "malware".
Stallman, the founder of the free software movement, perhaps not surprisingly has a very jaundiced view of proprietary software, and of Microsoft Windows especially.
"What kinds of programs constitute malware? Operating systems, first of all. Windows snoops on users, shackles users and, on mobiles, censors apps," he wrote in a newspaper editorial. The GNU website adds more information on the types of software here, and the sources of it.
"It also has a universal backdoor that allows Microsoft to remotely impose software changes. Microsoft sabotages Windows users by showing security holes to the National Security Agency before fixing them."
We asked Microsoft for its take on the comments, and it declined to respond.
The Redmond firm is not alone in facing this kind of criticism, with both Google and Apple also being fingered for snooping, censoring and locking in users.
Stallman didn't just limit his attack to OSs, warning that connected devices pose another threat to personal liberty and privacy.
"We know about the smart TV and the Barbie doll that transmit conversations remotely, and proprietary software in cars that stops those we used to call 'car owners' from fixing 'their' cars," he said.
"If the car itself does not report everywhere you drive, an insurance company may charge you extra to go without a separate tracker. Meanwhile, some GPS navigators save where you have gone in order to report back when connected to update the maps."
Stallman, who developed the GNU operating system in the 1980s out of frustration with proprietary software, said users are still being taken for a ride.
"In 1983, the software field had become dominated by proprietary (ie non-free) programs, and users were forbidden to change or redistribute them. I developed the GNU operating system, which is often called Linux, to escape and end that injustice," he wrote.
"Developers today shamelessly mistreat users; when caught, they claim that fine print in EULAs (end user licence agreements) makes it ethical. (That might, at most, make it lawful, which is different.) So many cases of proprietary malware have been reported, that we must consider any proprietary program suspect and dangerous. In the 21st century, proprietary software is computing for suckers."
The stories, and the issues they raise, show that for all the benefits technology brings, to both businesses and individuals, there are still plenty of concerns and issues that are pose some hefty questions for the industry to ponder.
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