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Encryption Government The Internet Politics

Why Governments Lie About Encryption Backdoors (vortex.com) 247

Lauren Weinstein says there are smart people in government, "who fully understand the technical realities of modern strong encryption systems and how backdoors would catastrophically weaken them," but asks So why do they continue to argue for these backdoor mechanisms, now more loudly than ever? The answer appears to be that they're lying to us. Or if lying seems like too strong a word, we could alternatively say they're being 'incredibly disingenuous' in their arguments. You don't need to be a computer scientist to follow the logic of how we reach this unfortunate and frankly disheartening determination regarding governments' invocation of terrorism as an excuse for demanding crypto backdoors for authorities' use.
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Why Governments Lie About Encryption Backdoors

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  • Lie? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2015 @07:34PM (#51111379)

    I don't understand why people believe a single word from the (US) government. Every time, on nearly every topic but especially security / military, what they say turns out to be not true.

    • Re:Lie? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday December 13, 2015 @07:41PM (#51111421) Homepage Journal

      I don't understand why people believe a single word from the (US) government

      It's part of their religion.

      Every time, on nearly every topic but especially security / military, what they say turns out to be not true.

      Talking snakes poll even better - objective truth has little relevance.

      But also consider the mental load of admitting that they're being economically and culturally ruined by these people. That would imply a moral imperative to action, which would require them to get off the couch. Technology has created the best living conditions in human history which brings comfort. They don't realize that fascistic regulations prevent that technology & comfort from being many times better [reason.com]. That's where the flying cars are.

      • Re:Lie? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:06PM (#51111499)

        The SOLE reason governments (aka: not you, but the puppet masters you sheeple put into office) want backdoors and crypto bans is NOT because terrists (aka: murderers, killers, criminals, thugs), IN FACT all of them have NO real impact, look upi death rates by cause.... but because governments around the world are SCARED SHITLESS that in this new CONNECTED world where people are aware of each other and TALKING with each other and sharing ideas and solutions and futures..... that the PEOPLES OF THE WORLD are now WAKING UP and realizing that governments, especially the crony thieves of old, are UNNECESSARY.
        To put it quite frankly, the US GOVT, and every other one, is AFRAID of losing their power and being REPLACED by actual effective legitimate non-corrupt totally open entities that serve ONLY the people, NOT THEMSELVES.
        Do you have any FUCKING idea what kind of FALL FROM POWER and change that represents to these dynasties of elites?
        So they are now trying to INVADE *your* PRIVATE communications so that they can see WHAT YOU'RE THINKING in that regard, and then MANIPULATE all of what you see, hear, read, and disintermediate your actions, steer markets, and all their old tricks.... SO THAT THE STAY IN POWER, AND TAKE MORE POWER AND RIGHTS FROM YOU.
        Make NO mistake, this has nothing to do with anything but THEM and them alone.
        WAKE UP WORLD... think about it... you'll realize there are more Springs needed than just the Arab Spring, fall of Berlin Wall, etc... the ones for and by you right at home.

        • by mathew7 ( 863867 )

          Actually what you say can't happen fast enough to affect the "current" generation of politicians, so I don't see why they would care.

          However, backdoors can allow "intelligence" operators to access a lot of people. And by operators, I mean individuals going for personal gain (like a politician paying an operator to dig stuff about an oponent).
          While this would not be so dangerous, as the "little" people would seldom feel the wrath (this is mostly for money and power), the problem does arise of the "private" c

        • there are BETTER WAYS to type then MAKING EVERY OTHER portion capitalized. it makes your argument SOUND STUPID and like it comes from a fucking CRAZY PERSON
        • The people in power grew up in a world where the Elites controlled the information. Where they got to choose what people see/hear/read. That control let them shape the world and guide the people's actions. In the new interconnected world they don't have that control and they are scared. Their primary objective is to regain that control, and the first step is knowing what everyone is reading/hearing/seeing, with step 2 being control of that info.
          • by Creepy ( 93888 )

            Every dictatorship has started by gathering information on every citizen. The US seems to want a dictatorship without the dictator, though. For instance, all of our recent presidents were or are heavily authoritarian and the ruling class is essentially an oligarchy.The one party system (sorry, but Republicans and Democrats are more alike than different in the whole scheme of things) gives the illusion of choice, but they tightly collude to eliminate any dissent. Look no further than the Commission on Presid [wikipedia.org]

    • Slashdot makes fun of people who don't believe the US went to the moon (as reported by the government).
    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      The US government is not the only government that lies. They all do.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      They don't lie, it's just Newspeak [wikipedia.org].

      The other side of the coin is that if they are caught then it may be because they want to be caught and therefore actually want the idea to get killed.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Because sometimes, they tell the truth.
      Think about it in logic terms : always lying is the same as always telling the truth once you reverse the statements. You can only deceive effectively if you mix truths and lies.
      In fact I really believe that what the government says is almost always true, almost. It's difficult to lie well as you have to create a consistent story around it and find ways to effectifely prevent leaks. In other words, lies are costly, so before yelling "lie!", it may be a good idea to thi

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

      I don't understand why people believe a single word from the (US) government. Every time, on nearly every topic but especially security / military, what they say turns out to be not true.

      Mind you, there is plenty of reason to distrust the U.S. government, but your hyperbole is not contributing to the reasoned discussion that we should be having.

    • ...Every time, on nearly every topic...

      No, that's a lie.

  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @07:37PM (#51111393) Journal
    The government simply got used to being able to see everything at all times. Now that we can create blind spots, they are paranoid and lashing out.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @09:00PM (#51111641) Homepage

      Well I think it's just as much the general public not being used to early, brutal death anymore. I just checked the mortality statistics here in Norway:

      0-1 years old: <0.25%
      0-45 years old: <2%
      0-66 years old: <10%

      That is rather amazing when you consider there's still fatal accidents, diseases, murder and suicide. But we're chipping away at it bit by bit, adding safety measures, advancing medicine, reducing crime, improving mental care. Then a guy with a Kalashnikov fucks it up good, killing lots of people who with 98-99% probability should have lived decades, minimum. I'm not sure how they really coped with that during WWI and WWII when young men (and quite a few others) were dying left, right and center but I know today it's such an abomination we don't deal with it at all. We want it solved and eradicated, not just make the reasonable precautions and live with the residual risk.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        That's what makes the people swallow the lie, but it doesn't explain governments pushing for measures that cannot touch the bad guys with the AKs but can and will affect decent people.

      • We want it solved and eradicated, not just make the reasonable precautions and live with the residual risk.

        Agreed - however, it's important to not give up our freedoms for the sake of increased perceived security - which is what the governments are trying to accomplish using fear as a justification.

        I'm willing to live with the threat of terrorism, such as it is, more than I'm willing to give up my human rights.

        - these thoughts coming to you from Paris, France

      • "We want it solved and eradicated, not just make the reasonable precautions and live with the residual risk."

        Do you understand the word Liberty at all? There is NO LIBERTY without risk. What you ask for is impossible without enslaving the entire human race.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    smart people aren't in government. smart people don't need to beg the public for votes to get a paycheck.

  • The Goberments... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @07:56PM (#51111471) Journal
    We've read the "Government does this, the Government doesn't do what it should, and the Government is corrupted etc." so many times it becomes both tiring and old, especially since most of it is just us - the people - voicing our opinions about things we've "heard" about, and even if it was true - we do basically NOTHING about it...but talk.

    That said...even if you elected someone else - the power of knowledge is too tempting for ANYONE to resist. Therefore the way is OPEN SOURCE all the way. The safest way is actually no secrets in any source or any software, keep everything open - and then no one will be able to put in back doors or abuse bugs that are unknown as everyone will be able to peek inside and help fixing it.

    What we need to do is to stop this endless paranoid game of "who do you trust?" and start producing results and solutions. We can do this together...the "gorberment" can't do anything about it, if anything - they should keep to what they do best (whatever that is) and leave the technology to enthusiasts like us, WE - the people - will pretty much make sure your privacy is safe because we'll all end up using open source software.

    The only thing "goberment" is achieving with this crazy "who do you trust?" game is making sure would-be terrorist keep digging a deeper hole to hide in and grow a HUGE database of every persons private lives - kept - for their interpretation, with the kind of knowledge and power NO man should hold.

    What you do with your computer or in your home - isn't government business no matter what the cause is. If you don't have the freedom to think freely, voice your opinions at will - then you don't have any freedoms at all.

    Now, if they ever outlaw open source, then we'll be in trouble (or rather - they will).
    • >The safest way is actually no secrets in any source or any software, keep everything open

      HA

      Not more than 50 or 60 people bother looking through some of some Linux drivers, and half of them work for the government. "open source" doesn't mean "nothing is secret" unless people put in the time.
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        I suspect that you are basically correct, though I doubt the accuracy of your numbers. The key quote is "With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow."...but that's a conditional truth. You need the eyes in the first place, and for many areas there aren't enough experts who are interested. Certainly it's been multiple decades since I did much C, and I haven't used it to speak of since before I switched to Linux. (Actually, the last time I really worked with C, the main OS was CP/M.)

    • " We can do this together...the "gorberment" can't do anything about it..."
      Other than legislate that we have to have back doors in our open source code/firmware/etc., with stiff penalties for those who do not.

      "What you do with your computer or in your home - isn't government business no matter what the cause is. If you don't have the freedom to think freely, voice your opinions at will - then you don't have any freedoms at all."

      You are conflating three different things.

      1) "What you do with your computer or

  • How does it work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:12PM (#51111521) Journal
    Serious question here......how would that work from a technical perspective?

    Presumably they want to have a "master key" that would unencrypt any iPhone drive, but each user has to have their own unique key, as well. What kind of encryption algorithm lets either of two keys unencrypt something?
    • Re:How does it work (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:49PM (#51111615)

      Because encryption is usually a bit more complex then just that. A common system is to encrypt the data with a a strong symmetric cipher, using a single-use key key generated on the fly, then encrypt a copy of that key with the method of the user's choice, such as a password or asymmetric cipher. This way, you lessen the impact of using a slower or weaker method, as it is encrypting what is hopefully a relatively small and utterly random packet of data. Diffie-Hellman key exchange, NTFS file encryption, and others use this principle.

      The 'master key' exploit should be fairly obvious, at this point: Every time the system creates a key package, it creates another copy of the single-use key, encrypted with a hidden 'master key' supplied by whoever ordered the backdoor. This doesn't compromise the integrity of the cipher used on the data, or on the other key packages. The danger lies in the security of the Master Key itself, which must be included in some form in every single instance of the encryption system. Unless the Master Key is made truly unique for every instance - a records-keeping nightmare - then an attacker only needs to break one key to break them all.

      • Every time the system creates a key package, it creates another copy of the single-use key, encrypted with a hidden 'master key' supplied by whoever ordered the backdoor.

        Got it, thanks.

      • Re:How does it work (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @01:03AM (#51112205) Homepage

        Because encryption is usually a bit more complex then just that. A common system is to encrypt the data with a a strong symmetric cipher, using a single-use key key generated on the fly, then encrypt a copy of that key with the method of the user's choice, such as a password or asymmetric cipher. This way, you lessen the impact of using a slower or weaker method, as it is encrypting what is hopefully a relatively small and utterly random packet of data. Diffie-Hellman key exchange, NTFS file encryption, and others use this principle.

        The 'master key' exploit should be fairly obvious, at this point: Every time the system creates a key package, it creates another copy of the single-use key, encrypted with a hidden 'master key' supplied by whoever ordered the backdoor. This doesn't compromise the integrity of the cipher used on the data, or on the other key packages. The danger lies in the security of the Master Key itself, which must be included in some form in every single instance of the encryption system. Unless the Master Key is made truly unique for every instance - a records-keeping nightmare - then an attacker only needs to break one key to break them all.

        Wouldn't it then be fairly trivial for a user (or easy to use utility) to delete the 2nd copy of the key, removing the back door?

        • Not if that key is created and stored at rest on remote infrastructure (e.g. the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and so on). Think about that for a moment or two, and you begin to realise why such backdoors undermine security so fundamentally: the only way to ensure users can't simply delete (or, more realistically, prevent transmission of) the second copy of the key is to mandate that the encryption happens on the server, not the client; so not only is it a bad idea for these second copies t

        • Wouldn't it then be fairly trivial for a user (or easy to use utility) to delete the 2nd copy of the key, removing the back door?

          Not on an iPhone, you aren't the one who controls the device.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          Wouldn't it then be fairly trivial for a user (or easy to use utility) to delete the 2nd copy of the key, removing the back door?

          That was a flaw in the Clipper chip. It was possible to forge a false law enforcement key.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Serious question here......how would that work from a technical perspective?

      All your keys are belong to U.S.

    • Truecrypt, LUKS, ...
      Essentially a symmetric key is encrypted with all asymmetric keys. You decrypt the symmetric key, and then use it to access the data.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:14PM (#51111527)

    Because the smart people don't drive the commentary, they just stand there in the background face-palming them selves.

    Honestly government isn't any different from enterprise:

    The Techs & Scientists give management a clear answer on a subject, stipulating all the factors and issues with a stance that the boss is taking, providing alternate approaches & data that shows what they want is irrelevant anyway.

    The PHB doesn't like what he's hearing so just goes out and says what he thinks, regardless of the facts. "Well that's what I've promised the client, so you'll have to deliver"

    Do you think that politicians & leaders in the "security" services are any different ?

    • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:29PM (#51111569)

      Bingo, too bad you posted as an AC. Most people think of technology as FM, Fucking Magic. Most people in policy positions of government are no different because they come from the ranks of most people. They do not believe someone telling them something cannot be done because they've "consumed" too many TV shows that tell them technology is FM. Those crazy scientists and engineers are always pulling someone's nuts out of the fire at the last minute when the previous 3/4 of the show convinced them it those nuts are going fry.

      The policy makers still come from the ranks of most people. Ever listen to most people calling on CSPANs morning callin show? They are nuts. Few are able to think logically much less rationally. They believe Jews control the world, WTC was an inside job, the moon landing was faked, there's a shadow government, Obama is a Muslim. Expect this lot to somehow come up with sensible policies is like asking for square eggs.

      The rank and file in the government, for the most part not the policy makers, are more or less normal, can think logically and rationally, many have advanced degrees so the nutjobs got weeded out. The policy makers were mostly elected or rose to their position by stepping on qualified people to make themselves look better. They are mostly firm believers in FM because they want to believe in FM. The fact that their reasoning is circular is only reinforcing their beliefs to themselves.

      • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @12:18AM (#51112095)

        > , there's a shadow government,

        Gee, and that's why the G20 summit secret law [slashdot.org] and TPP [wikileaks.org] (Trans-Pacific Partnership) were held in the open, right? Oh, wait,they're weren't until WELL after the fact.

        Maybe if governments would stop making bullshit reasons for secret laws [techdirt.com] maybe this conspiracy would finally die.

        > WTC was an inside job,

        And yet seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, Building 7 just "mysteriously" collapses.

        What was the official report on the cause of _that_ again??

        Only a fucking idiot would believe it was "the terrorists."

        • What was the official report on the cause of _that_ again??

          A fuel tank in the basement with a "pressurized line" to an upper floor, where it supposedly fed the fire with diesel fuel for hours.

      • The fact that their reasoning is circular is only reinforcing their beliefs to themselves.

        Exactly, like the billboard near my house, proclaiming 'The Bible contains evidence that God exists!'.. but I digress.. I've worked with electricity, then electronics, then computers, since I was ten or eleven years old, and I'm middle-aged now. Seems like every day I take for granted basic things about those three subjects that I know, and am reminded by (to borrow your term) 'Most People' of that fact, when I see them give me confused, and even sometimes scared, looks about technology. If it's just shooti

        • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @04:31AM (#51112739)

          The bible containing proof that god exists is like Harry Potter containing proof that magic exists.

          • There's actual proof that some parts of the Bible were actually made up ( I totally get the irony of that statement :-)). The original scriptures were written in Greek, and only translated to Latin 3 centuries later. The famous Pericope Adulterae from the gospel of John (let him who is without sin cast the first stone) only appeared in the Latin version in the 4th century I think, and was not present in the original Greek scriptures. This is a well known fact agreed upon by most biblical scholars. They just
            • Well, the original scriptures of the OT were written in ancient Hebrew. For the NT it is hard to say. Koine Greek is the most likely language of some of its older sources (Q source, maybe M source), so it is probable that the Gospels themselves were written in Greek.

              Jesus, provided he existed in the first place, would not have spoken Greek, though. First of all, as the son of a carpenter he most likely would not have received any advanced education, which would have been pretty much the requirement to speak

  • by dweller_below ( 136040 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:23PM (#51111549)
    Part of the problem is that many believe that we can attack our way to security. They are confused about the fundamental nature of attack and defense when applied to the internet. They don't understand the combination of global connectivity and automation. They don't understand that any action of internet attack or defense has unintended consequences.

    In the old days, you could attack one thing. You could defend one thing. But, that doesn't map well to the internet. Now, we all talk to each other. We all use the same methods of defense. When one actor attacks another, the attack is exposed, analyzed, and re-used. Now, when somebody attacks, they increase the cost of defense for everybody. When somebody comes up with improved defense, we all learn how to increase the cost of attack for everybody.

    For over a decade, several branches of the US government have focused almost all their energy on attacking others across the internet. The result is an internet where compromise and breach are daily events. Somehow, our protectors don't see that they are crafting the tools of our demise and handing them to our enemies. If we are honest, we are more to blame for the great compromise at the OPM than our attackers. If we had spent the last decade on creating and encouraging defense, then breach would be difficult and rare.

    Now, our governments are blindly following the tradition of attack. They wish to attack the protocols we use to determine identity and create security. They don't see or care that everybody else will do likewise. They don't see the great devastation that will follow.

  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:39PM (#51111593)

    Then only criminals will have guns and encryption.

    The logic is absolutely inescapable with these scenarios: The US government is working with criminals and will thus help them to succeed.

    Criminal gangs can get their hands on various encryption programs. Backdoors on hardware won't make a damn worth of difference.

  • Governments lie about needing encryption back doors precisely because they don't need them.

    • Exactly (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gordonb ( 720772 )
      Misdirection. Legerdemain. The "backdoors" are already there. The encryption is already broken. The network is already hacked.
      • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

        Misdirection. Legerdemain. The "backdoors" are already there. The encryption is already broken. The network is already hacked.

        Sigh... [citation needed]

  • by Curlsman ( 1041022 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @08:57PM (#51111635)

    The late Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post has recalled:
    "I guess it started for me with Vietnam, when the establishment felt it had to lie to justify a policy that, as it turned out, was never going to work ... [documented] hidden away in the Pentagon Papers..."
    https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

    It seems to me we (the electorate) keep sending the people who are best at it, because they keep telling us what we want to hear, back in.

  • Because Santa Claus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @09:06PM (#51111655)

    ... won't bring you any presents. Or Jesus will cry if you are bad. Keep asking questions and your parents will just break down and yell at you, "Because I say so! And I'm bigger than you. So shut up and mind me, you little shit!"

    Keep asking the encryption question and you'll find out how far away from a democracy we've drifted. And when our government gives up with the b.s. stories and lays down the law, they'll do it with armed troops.

  • Because It Works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @09:19PM (#51111681) Journal

    The simple truth is that while unbreakable encryption is out there in the form of books or papers with the math, most people -- bad guys included -- are lazy and just going to use what the simple, convenient stuff. (The back-doored stuff.)

    They fall into the trap of thinking "there are so many people using Facebook chat, the authorities will never find MY stuff in all that noise". In many cases they end up using simple code-book substitution and trivial code names. Instead of Abdul al-Hazred, they'll use "Mr. White". Instead of the Twin Towers they'll use "Faculty of Commerce". They think they're being clever because THEY would never catch this stuff.

    I've had this argument with gov't lawyers and it boiled down to me saying "but this is trivial to bypass -- smart bad guys would just use X", and them responding "yeah, but we'll catch the stupid ones and there are a TON of those".

    Anyone who has studied the history of crypto knows it is damn near impossible to get it right every last time, much less develop it without bugs. Even WITH source code samples, algorithms and coding skills people who have been doing this for a lifetime screw it up. Thus, "the horse has escaped the barn" isn't really an honest argument. That horse is going to trip of its own volition fairly quickly.

    The popular cryptographer and author Bruce Schneier in his blog recalled a conversation with fellow crypto expert Matt Blaze of the University of Pennsylvania, who said the publication of the Snowden documents would begin a âoenew dark age of cryptography, as people abandon good algorithms and software for snake oil of their own devising.â

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @10:51PM (#51111921)

    (1) Aldrich Ames;
    (2) Kim Philby;
    (3) J. Edgar Hoover; and
    (4) the State of Alabama (NAACP v. Button).

    Sooner or later the Supreme Court is going to revisit the Fourth Amendment as it relates to wireless communications. Perhaps the feds are trying to shape the course of public opinion in this regard.

  • Because to work in government, the primary qualification you need is to be a complete psychopath.

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @12:14AM (#51112085)

    As Friedman said:

    [You falsely assume that] government is a way in which you put unselfish and ungreedy men in charge of selfish and greedy men. But government is an institution whereby the people who have the greatest drive to get power over their fellow men, get in a position of controlling them. Look at the record of government. Where are these philosopher kings that Plato supposedly was trying to develop?

    • Re:surprised? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <kenwd0elq@gmail.com> on Monday December 14, 2015 @02:04AM (#51112357)

      In the United States, the Constitution was written to put three branches of government IN CONFLICT with each other, so that no one - nor even any two - branches of government can become destructive of liberty. But we don't use it as written any more, and many of the "progressive" elements of the early 1900s have conspired to rip down the barriers.

      The first was the 17th Amendment, allowing direct election of Senators. The Senate was DESIGNED to be the body that represented the STATES interests, while the House was directly elected. The 17th Amendment allowed for the Federal Government to tramp on the responsibilities and rights of the States. The 16th Amendment allowing for an income tax (introduced earlier, but passed with the 17th in 1913) allowed the Federal Government to grow rapidly.

  • ... that believes ad blockers are unethical.

    "For the record, I don't run any ad blockers. Basically, I consider them unethical"

    And when someone call Lauren out on his absolute stupidity [google.com] they get censored.

  • I never felt that the reason they gave, which was to catch the most dangerous terrorists, was ever a realistic goal... Whenever someone advocates this, it is either because they are simply too ignorant to realize the actual implications of what they are saying, or else it is because they (possibly sincerely) feel that the number of people who are too incompetent to be able to get away with committing crimes if encryption is not as readily available, but would otherwise be able to get away with committing them if they had easy access to strong encryption technologies is somehow a sizable portion of the people who commit crimes.
  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Monday December 14, 2015 @01:11AM (#51112217) Homepage

    The Bill of Rights recognizes that the government needs to be kept at arm's length, to be limited in its power. In the last few decades, we've been slowly giving more and more power to the government, sometimes in the name of "national security," (Patriot Act) sometimes in the name of "fairness for all" (Affordable Care Act). We've been taught to let the friendly folks at Washington take care of us. Now we're starting to see the dark side again. The government is saying, "Trust us with your data!"--either when they take it secretly (NSA/Snowden) or when they demand it publicly (backdoors). Maybe it's time for a digital Bill of Rights. The problem is, the government isn't just going to sit down and let go of the power they already have.

  • "Since the ruling class is usually safe from terrorists, and in bed with criminals, I’m guessing that “political opponents” will get the most spying."

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit... [pjmedia.com]

    For government, terrorism just makes them look bad - but political opposition can remove them from power. That's why encryption hysteria ALWAYS is about protecting government from the citizens. We need to stop electing lefty governmental flunkies like Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and start to reduce the size and

  • The people who ask questions like this are the disingenuous ones: they too must be smart and they too must understand that the smart people in government - yes, they're there, in fact, they meet them at conferences and stuff - are in no position to seek out the news-media like that. And they too must understand that people have jobs that include assignments and not meeting them can mean that you get fired. People in governments have jobs to do. Some of those do it in front of cameras, others in front of com

  • It is opinion.

    I do not claim it is wrong.

    I am not denigrating the author.

    It is, however, just an opinion published on someone's blog. Hence the disclaimer (if you read all the way to the bottom.)

    Slashdot is supposed to publish news for nerds, and this is not that.

  • Follow The Money (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There's another dimension to this story, which gets lost in the critically important discussion regarding privacy, but it's money.

    If a government got their way and were able to impose the types of control that is now being argued for, it would require a vast amount of new infrastructure to be developed. For example, there would need to be a key escrow system; there would need to be the means of storing all data being transmitted between citizens, there would need to be vastly more money spent on all of this

  • From the article:

    So it seems clear that the real reason for the government push for encryption backdoors is an attempt not to catch the most dangerous terrorists that they're constantly talking about, but rather a selection of "low-hanging fruit" of various sorts: Inept would-be low-level terrorists [...]

    Yes, this is exactly who the government wants to get to -- inept low-level terrorists who aren't knowledgable or trained enough to consistently use secure/ISIS approved software and instead use the standard communications software that came with their cell phone or computer, because that's what is convenient and familiar to them.

    And that isn't nothing, given that one of the big threats is "self-radicalizing individuals" who by definition won't be be elite ISIS commandos but rather otherwise

Genetics explains why you look like your father, and if you don't, why you should.

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