For years, privacy activism has been asking the question "what if?" When organizations want to increase their surveillance powers and delve deeper into our daily lives, a vocal minority shouts "what if this is misused?" "what if this data is stolen?" "how can this be used against us?"
2017 has turned many of these ethereal fears into hard realities.
The CIA and NSA have proven that they can't protect their own hacking tools with a high degree of certainty.
The FCC has proven that it has little to no regard for digital privacy rights.
The FBI is now going through a partisan purge that is removing any modicum of trust that anyone should have in the organization to responsibly do their jobs impartially.
The Supreme Court of the United States was underhandedly stacked by a party.
The Russian FSB is running an active disinformation campaign to weaken western democracies and alliances around the world, using targeted propoganda finely tailored to the demographics they wish to influence. Big data is directly harming democracy.
Trust in the institutions that are supposed to protect and uphold peace and order have eroded to the point where a reasonable person should now openly question the motives of these bodies wanting any personal information about them.
Remember this the next time a government agency reignites the debate over powerful encryption.