I’m 66 years old.  The fight over unlocking phone encryption is laughable as I look back on my own life.

Party line phones

When I was a kid phones were attached to a wall in your house.  In addition, your phone line was shared with 5 or 6 other households on your street.  If you were on the phone anyone on this party line could and did listen. 

Sometimes they would even interrupt your conversation when they didn’t hear clearly what you said.  Encryption?  We didn’t have any privacy. Ask your girlfriend out on a date and the neighbors know whether you get turned down or not.


Just ask Madge

We had a local telephone operator who worked out of her house.  Every call had to be routed by her.  No dialing, crank the ringer and Madge would answer.  Tell her the name of the person you wanted to talk to and she would connect you.

Say you were away from home for a while. Call Madge and she could tell you who tried to call while you were away and even give you a message.  Sometimes when contacting her to make a call she would simply say the people are out for the evening and tell you where they went.


Call when the shooting plan is finalized

Imagine planning a crime spree on the phone back then.  Every detail would be wide spread before you left the house.  All your accomplices would be in jail before you got to the crime scene.  You may as well make the plans in the police station break room

Concerned about the NSA?

If they had been around then, they could simply rent a house next door and have a phone installed.  Simple as that. Just pick up the receiver when you hear a rattle on the phone box.  Listen all you want, write it down.

Today’s phones are mind boggling

This is why I’m so amazed at the whole idea of secrecy and encrypted phones.  It’s technologically advanced, private, protected by law, but so different from the way of the world 60 years ago.  Maybe it was a little harder to plan a shooting back then.  You sure couldn’t use a phone in private.

How will the phone fight with Apple turn out?  I don’t know.  It’s just amazing when I think back to how far we have come in so little time.





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