Dear John Young & Colleagues,Hasn't encryption been a "con" since it was first invented? From my understanding of the history of communications, encryption and decryption has been like the "Cold War" arms race. No matter how clever the encryption, there has always been some way of defeating it...with a few exceptions to the rule. The ingenuity of human beings, their curiosity and inventiveness, their ability to work individually as geniuses or collectively in organisations, their hard slog, their patience, their persistence and their perspicacity and above all, the dictatorship of necessity, has led to increasingly complex encryption and other methods of decryption.
Their collective experience in the learning institutions over hundreds of years and the seminal documents of those historians interested in the subject, have shown that it is a game between those who design encryption and those who crack it, whether it be by nation states, or conglomerations of nation states, or private corporations both national and international, or private individuals. The coming of information technology and the development of electronic machines and computer technology has made no difference to this game. All it has done is to speed up the competition and, as computers, tablets, mobile phones and other devices have been invented and become more sophisticated and cheaper, and at the same time, easier to use, more people in the world have been able to particpate in the game in all sorts of different ways.
Here in the UK for instance, we had Bletchley Park and Collossus, which interestingly, Churchill had dismantled after the World War 2 because he considered the instution and computers as a real danger to democracy and human rights. This "luddite" concept never worked of course, Bletchley Park rose again from the ashes in the form of GCHQ...
The problem I have, if I may be personal for a moment, is how I secure and keep private my family, financial and business relationships so that I can conduct my life without having to worry about being "set up" or my confidential information, being used secretly or even worse, twisted or made up, or my personal relationship or my reputation with my fellow human beings and institutions o the world. It is preserving this concept so that every other individual in world can enjoy it, which in my mind, is the most important. The problem is the dual or multiple use o such technology for achieving other aims. As a resource, as an educational tool, the internet and the world wide web have certainly opened up learning and communications to the whole world. I personally, much appreciate such progress. I would never have learned as much as I know now, if it hadn't been for computer and information technology. I learned to type using Mavis, Touch Type Tutor. If it hadn't been for her, I would never have written more than 5 words, as my writing was atrocious...and still is.
However, the other side of the bitcoin, is that anonimity and secrecy can be used by criminals whether it be by the terrorist, the liberation fighter, drugs baron, sex offender, the charitable or philanthropic instution or the state. The question for me is how, what measures we can advocate which will protect the liberty, privacy, and the security of the individual and the institution, which will at the same time allow the criminal element to be monitored and evidence collected about wrongdoing.
Mass monitoring and mass surveillance of the population and their communications is the way which has been chosen by the nation states of the world, and they do it through their intelligence services, with little accountability or remedies for abuse. The danger with this approach is that the abuses are leading to an undermining of the belief and faith systems which people have in using the internet for the likes of banking, business and financial practices. There is no doubt, particularly since the information provided by Snowden el al, that an increased awareness is taking place amongst the thinking classes, as well as the terrorists and criminals, that perhaps our various establishments are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as evidence by less international trust and loss of business or US I.T. provision companies. This is not to say, of course that the U.S. state are the only culprits. They are all at it, it is just that the U.S. has more spare cash to throw at it, and has more people, organisations and institutions involved in the industry; and of course, considers itself as the police of the world, regarding what regimes are considered as advantageous to U.S. interests, and that human rights, American style and the American way of life should be the norm throughout the world. It is a wonderful dream, but contains within, like all processes, all empires, the seeds of its own destruction...
Just a few thoughts on the subject... ATB Douglas Rankine On 07/06/14 19:04, John Young wrote:
Maarten Billemont writes: "I feel there's an important implicit reference there I'm missing. What con in the 90s are you referring to?" The crypto wars of the 90s appeared to have been won, but instead were lost by misunderstanding of the deeper battlefield, and the cravenpatriotic nationalistic retreat from global devotion after 9/11. Dissidentsbecame quiescent about NSA, warned of popular backlash to funding and reputation by challenging authority during crisis. Crypto and comsec promotion was curtailed, sensitive files were withdrawn, private words were whispered to "don't go too far." Protect the nation became dominant, to hell with foreigners as foreigners said to hell with the US. Music to all nationalistic spies industries Snowden's nationalism (don't harm the US) has brought nationalism back into fashion as US firms struggle to maintain global markets, not least by deploying technology funded by US spy industry, now as in the 1990s. Technology which the Snowden outlets continue to withhold, allegedly due to a pact with Snowden (withheld 97% of Guardian's claim, 99.999% of what DoD claimed). So rigged crypto is again being touted as the holy grail of comsec and privacy, by pretty much the same parties united in the 1990s by common nationalistic and economic interests cloaked in globalist market-freedom propaganda. "We have to help our spies because they help their spies steal economic secrets." 9/11 failure of spies continues to be used as a rationale for more obsequiously, subversively, secretly empowing them. Is Snowden a tool, witting or unwitting, for this, hard to say, but his claim of "encryption works" certainly has the ring of enthusiastic crypto deception of the 1990s. Ring so beloved of the legal teams fronting the "lawful interception" deception movement, then and now. Note that all the hurrah about Reset the Net embraces the notion that corporations will institute cryptographic protection subject to lawful interception, the timeless evasion of faulty security where comsec promises are never fulfilled, and only fools would believe them, for goodness sake, have you no understanding of the real world? Comsec wizards chuckle on mail lists and at industry standards settings, our industry is fundamentally cheating, lying, stealing and taking adherents for a ride, spies our principal customers. At 09:47 AM 6/7/2014, you wrote:On Jun 7, 2014, at 8:08, John Young <jya@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: > No they haven't, Jim, you know that is a con from the 1990s. > Same type of corporations pushing the deceptive scheme, > matched by "displeasure" of the spies.I feel there's an important implicit reference there I'm missing. What con in the 90s are you referring to?