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Encryption Businesses Censorship Communications Government The Almighty Buck

US Encryption Ban Would Only Send the Market Overseas (dailydot.com) 156

Patrick O'Neill writes: As U.S. legislatures posture toward legally mandating backdoored encryption, a new Harvard study suggests that a ban would push the market overseas because most encryption products come from over non-U.S. tech companies. "Cryptography is very much a worldwide academic discipline, as evidenced by the quantity and quality of research papers and academic conferences from countries other than the U.S.," the researchers wrote.
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US Encryption Ban Would Only Send the Market Overseas

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  • by pollarda ( 632730 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:34AM (#51486665)
    We have pushed many of our industries overseas again and again with heavy government regulations. While OSHA, workers comp, EPA, etc. minimum wage, etc. laws and regulations may have some sense, we have to realize that these same laws also reduce employment and push industries overseas and make many of our overseas competitors more competitive. If we could create a 100% safe society through passing safety and employment laws we may have to satisfy ourselves with 100% unemployment as well.
    • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:59AM (#51486839)

      We have pushed many of our industries overseas again and again with heavy government regulations. While OSHA, workers comp, EPA, etc. minimum wage, etc. laws and regulations may have some sense, we have to realize that these same laws also reduce employment and push industries overseas and make many of our overseas competitors more competitive. If we could create a 100% safe society through passing safety and employment laws we may have to satisfy ourselves with 100% unemployment as well.

      We could also have import tariffs and whatnot to offset the reduced cost of not caring about employee safety. But we're all about "free trade" nowadays, where companies are free to roam the globe looking for the cheapest, most desperate labor with the lowest cost of living. If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

      • If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

        There is little evidence for that. The problem with tariffs is that other countries can also use them, and will do so to retaliate against our tariffs. So trade wars quickly degenerate into a race to the bottom, as populists in each country demand higher and higher barriers. Countries end up producing products where they have little competitive advantage. Do you think America would be richer if we produced more t-shirts and fewer aircraft and CPUs?

        If you look around the world today, the countries with t

        • Amazingly enough, something like 75% of the existence of the USA existed under tariffs. Was it impoverished and authoritarian back then? Did the government spy indiscriminately on every individual? Did people grow up with the expectations that their children would probably be less well off than they were?

          • by gtall ( 79522 )

            It is hard to argue that tariffs will make America better off, less authoritarian, spied upon less, and increase peoples expectations their children will be better off. These tariffs are just downright amazing.

          • Was it impoverished and authoritarian back then?

            Tariff policy was always controversial in America, with northern industrialists preferring protection for industry, and southern and western agricultural regions preferring free trade. It was a contributing factor in the Civil War. The victors were able to impose their high tariffs, and as a result, the South was relatively impoverished until tariffs were reduced after the folly of excessive tariffs was fully exposed in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I cant help but notice that, in your north/south civil war argument, the north had free people while the south had slave labor. Since the OP is arguing that tariffs help protect industry to level the playing field for safe working conditions I'm not sure countering with an argument contrasting the US slave labor market with the north was the best idea.

          • You do realize we still have tariffs now, right? There are thousands and thousands of pages of regulations defining all the tariffs that are in place.

            • by hjf ( 703092 )

              Not only do you have tariffs, you also have many sorts of "restrictions", "regulations" and other bullshit that goes against the "free trade" concept.
              The US is the nation with the most complaints about import restrictions. They like to shove "free trade agreements" down every other country's throats, yet they keep restricting imports of beef ("due to health concerns"), or keeping an artificially low price of, say, corn (through subsidies). And then they whine when other countries do exactly that...

          • And 56% without an income tax.
        • If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

          There is little evidence for that. The problem with tariffs is that other countries can also use them, and will do so to retaliate against our tariffs. So trade wars quickly degenerate into a race to the bottom, as populists in each country demand higher and higher barriers. Countries end up producing products where they have little competitive advantage. Do you think America would be richer if we produced more t-shirts and fewer aircraft and CPUs?

          If you look around the world today, the countries with the highest trade barriers tend to be impoverished. They also tend to be authoritarian. Governments that believe in economic repression tend to believe in political repression as well.

          I won't claim to know a lot about it, but I would say Germany is a counter example. They have retained a strong middle class and industrial base. As I understand it they do this with a strong social safety net, good employee education, and labor laws that encourage employing domestic workers. They are not without their problems, to be sure. But the fact is that in the US currently wealthy individuals and corporations are making a killing while the bottom 90% is not.

          Some say that's just the way of thing

          • But quality and length of life is skyrocketting in India and China as they relax economic controls amd open their markets.

            The average worldwide is thus increasing rapidly as capitalism continues to work its unparalleled wonders at improving the average person's life.

            This is slowed but hardly reversed in America, for the moment. But if you care about the average person worldwide, you should be crying yourself to sleep with joy every night.

            The proper measure isn't a Chinese factory vs. an overregulated US on

            • Are you advocating removing all regulations?

              If not, then realize that there may be a correct level of regulations that is somewhere between all and none. More regulation may help us but much more than that may harm us.

              • Are you advocating removing all regulations?

                Regulations to fix externalities like pollution and safety are generally good. Regulations and tariffs designed to "fix" the economy, on the theory that politicians are smarter than the market, are generally bad.

                Almost all poor countries would be better off with more regulations on pollution and safety, and much lower tariffs/subsidies/cronyism. Richer countries tend to have a better balance, which is part of the reason they are richer.

          • I won't claim to know a lot about it, but I would say Germany is a counter example.

            What??? Germany has among the lowest tariffs in the world. Most of their imports are completely tariff free. On a per capita basis, they have one of the world's highest rates or both imports and exports, much higher than America's.

            • Germany does have one benefit, they tend to have a strong worth ethic...

              Too many Americans are fat and lazy and just don't want to work.

              Yes, yes, I know, broad brush... but I see it every day...

            • I won't claim to know a lot about it, but I would say Germany is a counter example.

              What??? Germany has among the lowest tariffs in the world. Most of their imports are completely tariff free. On a per capita basis, they have one of the world's highest rates or both imports and exports, much higher than America's.

              Fair enough. But they are doing something different from America that is preventing their middle class from being hollowed out.

              As I said, I am not well versed in comparing national economies. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for the differences. What I do know is that in the US worker compensation has been divorced from productivity gains. The very wealthy are taking almost all of the value created in the form of higher returns and compensation, and have used their power in government to rig the s

        • If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

          There is little evidence for that. [...] Do you think America would be richer if we produced more t-shirts and fewer aircraft and CPUs?

          About 20 years ago when the original NAFTA and its ilk came into being, people complained about exactly this issue. The meme of the day was "a giant sucking sound" as jobs and manufactured goods went South to Mexico.

          The non-governmental economists claimed that wages would stagnate.

          The government economists responded by saying that wages would stagnate, but the markets would be flooded with cheaper goods, so overall purchasing power would increase.

          Here we are 20 years later, wages have stagnated for most wor [pewresearch.org]

          • Inequality is a serious problem, but it is not specific to America. It is a worldwide problem in all developed countries. It is driven much more by technology than trade. It is hard to get a raise if you are competing with a servo-motor. So instead of advocating tariffs, you should be advocating bans on productivity enhancing technological improvements.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Do I think *who* in America would be richer if we produced more t-shirts and fewer aircraft and CPUs?

          While the parent argument is not totally bogus, it's unfairly presuming that the wealth of a country distributes equally.

          That said, increasing automation is rapidly making all this irrelevant. A headline just yesterday declared that BOTH "America" and India were losing jobs to automation. If India is losing jobs to automation, it's rather hard to believe that low wages will retain jobs.

      • Might have something to do with those countries putting tariffs in place against are good in retaliation. All tariffs do is isolate economies and give the government piles of money.

        Somehow you want to make laws to keep industry local? So you want to be Cuba or North Korea?

      • We could also have import tariffs and whatnot to offset the reduced cost of not caring about employee safety. But we're all about "free trade" nowadays, where companies are free to roam the globe looking for the cheapest, most desperate labor with the lowest cost of living. If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

        While I lean myself towards that idea...it has been brought to my attention that this would be counteracted quickly by other countries....and a trade war would break out, whic

      • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

        But we're all about "free trade" nowadays, where companies are free to roam the globe looking for the cheapest, most desperate labor with the lowest cost of living. If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

        My gawd! That's socialist talk. A free market is good for everyone. Right?

        • A free market is good for everyone. Right?

          A free market that is based on everyone operating on a fair playing field is..yes.

          But when you have China devaluing its currency and them and other countries playing dirty tricks to keep their prices artificially lower...then a tariff balances things out.

          If the US has to have some freakin' carbon tax....hard to compete with a country that does not, so we have a tariff that makes the prices more or less equal, and then people can buy based on quality with price be

        • by suutar ( 1860506 )

          yep. Wish we had one.

      • We could also have import tariffs and whatnot to offset the reduced cost of not caring about employee safety. But we're all about "free trade" nowadays, where companies are free to roam the globe looking for the cheapest, most desperate labor with the lowest cost of living. If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

        Companies roaming the globe looking for the cheapest labor is exactly how the economy in those places improve so they are no longer cheapest (which is why China is starting to

    • Au contraire (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We have pushed many of our industries overseas again and again with heavy government regulations. While OSHA, workers comp, EPA, etc. minimum wage, etc. laws and regulations may have some sense, we have to realize that these same laws also reduce employment and push industries overseas

      No they don't. So-called "Free Trade" agreements designed specifically to undermine such laws, by opening boarders for unfettered trade without requiring a corresponding level playing field in the regulatory and labor protec

      • NAFTA etc. are working exactly as designed, inspiring a race to the bottom in terms of quality of living and wages.

        This is nonsense. NAFTA has had the opposite effect. American and Canada have kept their environment and safety protections, while Mexico has improved dramatically. Moreover, Mexican labor conditions have improved the most in the Maquiladoras [wikipedia.org] along the US border. They didn't pull us down. We pulled them up.

    • No, No tax/tariff trade agreements have helped increase unemployment. Some nice protectionist policies would do wonders towards fixing the problem.
      • Actually it would only drive more demand for automation. Putting up protectionist trade barriers (which is inevitably make it harder for us to export our goods) isn't going to make industrialists magically hire Americans back. Instead companies will seek to find ways to replace that labor and we're back to square one again. We're already heading in that direction anyways, but there's just less incentive to do so when you can get cheap foreign labor.

        Protectionist policies might give a temporary increase i
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think the headline was missing something:

      "US Encryption Ban Would Only Send the Market Overseas".... Again.

      They tried this ITAR ban on exporting encryption back in the 1990s and people just moved open source software projects to overseas servers and were careful not to openly contribute encryption code to those projects.

      It is complete idiocy and fatally undermines US national security to ban encryption or put restrictions on its use. The US has the most to lose security-wise by making it harder to secure

      • the remnants of good old times in my /etc/apt/sources.list:

        # deb http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US woody/non-US main contrib non-free
    • Wait, what? The US unemployment rate if 4.8% is pretty much as low as it can go (the Fed thinks the natural unemployment rate is 4.6% to 5.4%). Your premise about high safety => high unemployment sounds reasonable but doesn't seem to hold out in practice for whatever reason.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Bingo!

        This has been tried before, and failed abysmally. Not only was it unenforceable, mere threat of enforcement drove work off-shore.

    • While OSHA, workers comp, EPA, etc. minimum wage, etc. laws and regulations may have some sense, we have to realize that these same laws also reduce employment and push industries overseas and make many of our overseas competitors more competitive.

      This is predicated on the false premise that it is necessary to have an open market with countries that have lax labor practices. If you levy a 2000% tariff on countries that exploit slave labor American labor can become competitive again. The same can be said about countries that do not have any emission controls.

    • by Jahta ( 1141213 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:46AM (#51487129)

      We have pushed many of our industries overseas again and again with heavy government regulations. While OSHA, workers comp, EPA, etc. minimum wage, etc. laws and regulations may have some sense, we have to realize that these same laws also reduce employment and push industries overseas and make many of our overseas competitors more competitive. If we could create a 100% safe society through passing safety and employment laws we may have to satisfy ourselves with 100% unemployment as well.

      Well these days "more competitive" is a just synonym for "cheaper", which in turn means "higher shareholder value". Workers in Europe and North America have to deal with the cost of living in Europe and North America. It's not possible to live here on the typical salaries paid in places like India and China. So it was never an option for workers the 1st world to be cost competitive.

      As for the safety issues, companies moving manufacturing offshore to places where working conditions are appalling is simply immoral. Things like this [wikipedia.org] and this [spiegel.de] which, quite rightly, would never be tolerated in the 1st world are just shrugged off when they happen in places like Bangladesh. People there are apparently just an expendable resource in the pursuit of corporate profits.

      • It's not possible to live here on the typical salaries paid in places like India and China.

        Yes it is, but you'd have to go to someplace other than NYC or SF to do so. Go to rural New Mexico and you'll find a lot of people who do.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Depends on what you mean by "typical salaries in ... China". In some parts of China, minimum wage is only $1.23 per hour, which translates to $49.20 per week, or $2558.40 per year. There is nowhere in the U.S where you can live on $49.20 per week without being homeless. Even if you own your own house, if isn't possible. After all, it would take most of that $49 per week to pay for food alone. Add in insurance for your home (required by law, generally), and you're way, way over. And you'd still be doi

    • If the US has higher health and safety standards than other countries (and having worked with a number of American companies and seen their appallingly low standards of health and safety, I seriously doubt that is true), then surely the correct thing to do is to help other countries to raise their standards of health and safety. that way fewer people die or are injured.

      Or do you actually care about people?

  • by NReitzel ( 77941 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:38AM (#51486697) Homepage

    You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

    For those of you who don't remember, the software got classified as a munition, people who sold it could be arrested as arms trafficers. Downloads instantly moved from US servers to those in Finland (and elsewhere) and the end result was a big spectacular nothing.

    Calmer heads prevailed, in the long run.

    The technology is out there, the knowledge of how to do encryption is impossible to stuff back into the bottle.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You would have thought that our government would have learned

      You assume that politicians are capable *and* willing to learn...

    • Wish I had mod points. Exactly what I wanted to post. Well said.

    • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:09AM (#51486909)

      You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

      For those of you who don't remember, the software got classified as a munition, people who sold it could be arrested as arms trafficers. Downloads instantly moved from US servers to those in Finland (and elsewhere) and the end result was a big spectacular nothing.

      Calmer heads prevailed, in the long run.

      The technology is out there, the knowledge of how to do encryption is impossible to stuff back into the bottle.

      Yes, I remember the bad old days when a Netscape web browser was considered as a weapon of war and it was illegal to export it outside the US and there was a check box on the EULA saying you agree that you wouldn't export it.

      If ITAR is again applied to encryption then the US will stop being able to sell pretty much any technology overseas and most people in the US who aren't complete morons will just import hardware and software from free countries where encryption is allowed.

      • I remember the PGP part, not the Netscape part (while I'm from the Mosaic era).

        Indeed getting your hands on full-on PGP was hard, only the shorter-key version of PGP was readily available for me in Europe. Netscape however I don't recall any issues getting the latest versions of.

    • You would have thought that our government would have learned when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

      The reason they didn't learn is that most people in Congress are lawyers. Lawyers typically have a very poor understanding of technology and computer related issues. In their world, you just pass a law making something legal or illegal and - boom - the problem is solved for all time.

      • Lawyers and politicians have the power to have people's property seized and their freedom curtailed.

        Unfortunately, they've never learned that this isn't the same thing as having the power to bend reality.

    • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:54AM (#51487187)

      when they attempted to ban PGP, decades ago.

      They didn't actually ban it outright. They put it on the ITAR munitions list in an effort to keep it from being exported and used by the overseas targets of our espionage. Inside the USA, we were still free to use strong encryption between ourselves. Unfortunately, our moron legislators didn't understand that the underlying math and theory was already out there and how trivially easy it was to replicate and distribute from sites offshore.

      Fast forward to today: What they want ('they' being a couple of half-wits in congress and law enforcement) is to restrict certain forms of encryption from coming back inside the USA. The TLAs are no longer spying on overseas entities. They are spying on their own population and don't want strong encryption schemes to interfere with that.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I wanted to bitch at you but then I thought about it and I realized that I'd be bitching at the messenger and not the cause. Sorry 'bout that. But, the gist of what I typed and deleted was this:

        What are we going to do about it? No, realistically - what are we going to do? We can't just sit idle and do nothing because we're powerless. That's tantamount to cowardice. We can't leave, that's surely cowardice and they say your problems always catch up with you when you run and they're usually right about that. W

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      I think what we can determine is that some legislators and bureaucrats weren't in government at that time and hence didn't learn those lessons. Government is not some G-d-like entity that remembers everything and capable of anything.

    • by sbaker ( 47485 )

      Generally, I don't agree with arguments of the form "If we ban X, only the bad guys will have X". (For example, if X is "guns", then total general unavailability of them, would eventually drive manufacturers out of business - and sooner or later all guns (and ammunition) would rust into non-existence and the bad guys wouldn't have them.)

      But crypto is different. It's math. Since the math is already "out there", it only takes someone with roughly college-level software skills to turn that math into code.
      So

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Generally, I don't agree with arguments of the form "If we ban X, only the bad guys will have X". (For example, if X is "guns", then total general unavailability of them, would eventually drive manufacturers out of business - and sooner or later all guns (and ammunition) would rust into non-existence and the bad guys wouldn't have them.)

        As the other reply said, guns are easy to manufacture. That genie is out of the bottle.

        There is a place in northern Pakistan, in the tribal areas, where they quite literally make *modern* weapons by hand, with *primitive tools*. And I don't mean just AK-47s, I mean *anti-aircraft guns*. And they work just fine. Yes, they would be expensive to hand make, but the community that uses them isn't exactly looking to own 50 of them.

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

        Let's not confuse the ability to stop making g

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Governments do not learn as they are not rational. They will try the same thing again and again, the very picture of insanity. Governments needs to be kicked firmly at regular intervals to make them back down on their most stupid ideas.

    • I tihnk it is also worth noting is was not exactly that smooth. Zimmermann and others received legal threats both in person, mail, phone calls, etc until the code was moved outside the US and was freely distributed. The fight to freely release PGP wasn't won, there was just nothing that could be done afterwards. Since then, many forms of encryption still remain illegal to export.
  • It's math ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:50AM (#51486753) Homepage

    "Cryptography is very much a worldwide academic discipline, as evidenced by the quantity and quality of research papers and academic conferences from countries other than the U.S."

    Cryptography is, ultimately, mathematics.

    People who want to poke holes in crypto fundamentally don't understand that the math is out there for all to see.

    So, flash back .. what, 20 years? When the US treated crypto as munitions and you couldn't export it. Now the US wants to break it, control it, and regulate it. And if people shift to other technologies, the US will be left with nothing but wishful thinking, and crypto they can't do anything with.

    âoeThe potential of an NSA-installed backdoor in U.S. encryption products is rarely mentioned in the marketing material for the foreign-made encryption products,â the study explains. âoeThis is, of course, likely to change if U.S. policy changes.â

    Indeed, wait for the marketing glossy to say "now, 100% American spying free!!!"

    Oddly enough, if you make yourselves untrustworthy, nobody will trust you.

    "So let me be crystal clear: Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people who are using it for the right reason," Apple CEO Tim Cook

    The people who want to spy on everybody don't understand this fact. You can't keep the benefits of crypto if you've ruined it. And trusting the spies will be the only ones who have broken into your stuff is utterly moronic.

    The heads of these spy agencies are too ill-informed about the technology to understand the stupidity of what they say. All they see is a need for nobody to have any secrets from them -- and to them, a big fuck you.

    • I'm curious as to how someone becomes the head of a spy agency while being so fundamentally ignorant of one of the most fundamental aspects of espionage. It's like hiring a mechanic who doesn't know what a distributor is.

      • I'm curious as to how someone becomes the head of a spy agency while being so fundamentally ignorant of one of the most fundamental aspects of espionage.

        I find the further up the food chain you move the less it becomes about reality, and the more it becomes the ridiculous belief that your demands define reality.

        "Just make it go because I said so".

        He's a lawyer, not a technologist or a spy ... which means he believes semantic arguments about the law take precedence technical constraints.

        Political appointees

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Why would they need to know what a distributor is? It's not the 1970's Cars don't have distributors anymore. People don't need things like rights, privacy or encryption anymore. We trust our government to always do the right thing.

        If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

        Papers please citizen. ;-)

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:51AM (#51486765)

    These guys are morons.

    We pushed crypto development to South Africa for FreeBSD back in the early 1990's to get around ITAR restrictions: "you can import, but you can't export".

    We will happily route around this brain damage, too.

    P.S.: The way to get better cryptographers in other countries is to make cryptographers criminals in the U.S.; obviously, it will not do fuck all to actually stop cryptography from happening, it'll just be that our people end up being shit at it compared to their people.

    • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:15AM (#51486933)
      No, they aren't morons, they are EVIL. They KNOW what they are proposing is wrong, but they do it anyway. Greed for money and power drives them, bought and paid for by the 1%. In the 70s,80s, 90s, would anyone have dreamed of the trampling of the Constitution that the government does nowadays, using 9/11 as a huge lever to bring in more trampling of citizens rights under the guise of "security"....
  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:51AM (#51486767) Homepage

    See I remember this shit. My very first exposure to any kind of encryption at all involved finding out about PGP and wanting to try to port it to my system.

    Multiple versions of the same library? why? They didn't DO anything different at all, just one was produced in the US and one outside so nobody had to go to prison for sharing well understood fucking math with people who already knew it.

    Politicians are fucking neanderthal pinheads. Let them make their laws, they will do nothing but make laughing stocks of themselves....AGAIN.

  • Sounds to me there will still be one company or 2 left for the DoD to request services to (for billions of dollars of course). Then they'll just force every US company to us that encryption instead of foreign tech for most stuff that needs to go to/from a citizen-bound device. Seems to be somebody is gonna get very rich, and everyone will be very secure from everyone else but the government itself.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      You're making the false assumption that the accepted protocols will be secure. This is historically not true. When the government mandates a monopoly, duopoly, etc. then implementation standards slip. And they're already pretty low.

  • ... then telling them about it isn't any more likely to convince them you are right. Clearly, those who would support encryption bans probably feel like there is any significant legal market for such technology is far outweighed by the extra efforts that law enforcement must go through because of it, or else they would not be suggesting a ban in the first place.

    What I believe is more effective at convincing them is to point out that even if banning strong encryption genuinely made law enforcement's job easier in absolutely every way they expect it to, if law enforcement can read your confidential data, however benign they might claim to be, then potentially, so could someone else.... someone with less benevolent intentions, and law enforcement would actually be *further* burdened with the task of keeping those who are innocent protected from predatory criminals who would seek to exploit the now weaker security systems that everyone is supposed to use, as mandated by law. The net effect is that the law enforcement has *more* work to do... not less, and the general public's safety is weakened, not improved. The only ones that can possibly come out ahead in the game are those who break the law.

    • What I don't understand is how law enforcement ever solved any crimes at all before the digital world?

      If you have done something wrong, there are all the old, tried and true, ways still available to nail the perpetrator.

      • What I don't understand is how law enforcement ever solved any crimes at all before the digital world?

        With a warrant, they could wiretap phones and plant listening devices.

        ...so, for example, when Canadian law enforcement was investigating the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985 (killing 329) they leaned heavily on wiretaps of phone conversations.

        With encrypted phone calls and encrypted text messages the investigation would likely have stalled as there would be no way to listen in on the perpetr

    • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:17AM (#51486961)
      Except the police aren't there to protect you....they are there to protect "the state"
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        That may be true, but then they would openly have to admit as much to counter the point that I made. In light of the argument that I've presented, what counter could they possibly offer that they would actually have any confidence to take a public stance upon?
    • by Kardos ( 1348077 )

      > What I believe is more effective at convincing them ...... The net effect is that the law enforcement has *more* work to do

      And therefore requires *more* funding and consequently usurps *more* power. Maybe this is not the most effective approach.

  • You'd first need to convince me that doing something detrimental to a strong western country is not the actual intended side effect.

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:12AM (#51486921)

    I remember the days of the Clipper Chip, and of the prohibition on exporting strong crypto. I remember getting a package from Checkpoint in Ramat Gan, Israel (over international DHL, I believe it was) that was slathered with warning stickers that said it could not leave the USA...when it originated from Israel.

    I remember in 2000, doing an IV&V of a VPN solution that did something really funky with their key generation, such that they were allowed to export strong (based on bit size) encryption without having to do key escrow. They put some of the key generation material in the handshake exchange...which means it went in the clear. I shit you not. Oh, and also, their algorithm had no forward secrecy...which was the whole point. Anyone who had sniffed the session could go to the operator of the VPN with a warrant, and have them re-generate the key that was negotiated between the two endpoints...making it possible to decrypt the session. Of course, this came along with a whole metric shitload of security problems, like the fact that compromising the VPN concentrator and pulling a little data off of it would give you the ability to decrypt any session that included that concentrator (we never got to the point of seeing if we could get the same effect by attacking the client). Basically, the whole thing was just a big pile of bitch cock, just waiting for disaster. (We also found a one-packed DoS, a buffer overflow, and other things...all unauthenticated attacks.)

    And the best part? The client for whom it turned out I was doing this IV&V. It was the United States Secret Service...specifically the protective detail for the incoming Bush administration. This pig-fucker of a VPN solution was going to be used to protect the President of the United States. That was fun to find out...at the outset of the engagement, we thought our client was the Treasury Department in general (which was kind of true, in a way). When we had "The Meeting" to tell them what a disaster the solution was, they told us who we were really working for in specific. I really needed a drink after that meeting.

    Needless to say, the Secret Service ended up going with a different solution.

    And now here we are again...with different people but the same organizations bringing up the same dogshit reasons to try and justify demanding the same dumb-shit idea be implemented...backdoored encryption. I find it so incredibly interesting that, when it came down to it, the US Government wouldn't rely on a solution like that to protect themselves, but they would insist that the rest of us accept it for our own use. It makes me want to spew a litany of every obscene word and phrase I can remember, in alphabetical order.

  • nobody could safely bank or buy products online anymore, i would close my checking account and wipe my entire harddrive clean, make new disk partitions and do a clean install knowing i will never use a credit or debit card online ever again
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      You not using a credit card doesn't keep your bank from transmitting weakly encrypted data. I've been told (by a counter clerk, so she may not have known) that they have a separate network from the Internet. So perhaps this is less of a problem than it appears. But I recall hearing of an isolated nuclear power plant that got infected by a virus because a contractor was plugged into two networks at once.

      I already refuse to bank on-line, because of multiple past security issues. This would just mean that

  • When you outlaw math, only criminals will do math.

    Hmm, that doesn't seem right.
  • First Ammendment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr_Blank ( 172031 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:46AM (#51487133) Journal

    Isn't a ban on encryption a ban on free speech?

    It seems to me that encrypted communication is akin to two people having a conversation in Klingon. If a third party, a police officer, were to interrupt the conversation shouting, "Hey! Speak English! You must be understood!", then that would clearly be a violation of first amendment rights. I cannot imagine a judge would allow the police officer to use a defense of, "Well, they could have been planning terrorism." If the conversation is electronic, and the government does not know what is being said, then it still seems absurd to me for that to be illegal.

    Banning encrypted communication is akin to banning all foreign languages, made-up languages, and baby talk. Speak English, little baby, you must be understood or the cops will get you! Absurd.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I'm sure the fbi has plenty of people on staff that speak klingon But If you and another person were to make up a language and not tell anyone else how to do the conversion that's probably illegal now if not I'm sure it will be within the next 10 years.
      The call centers in india will still be exempt tho.

      Yes I know that technically most everyone in india speaks english but there is just so much of an accent that it is just almost another language in itself.

    • A ban on encryption would violate the 1st, 2nd, and 4th amendments.
      A requirement for backdoors would also violate the 3rd, 5th and 6th amendments.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, theory and maths knowledge is everywhere, but software are hardware is not built everywhere.
    Most products are USA origin, even if they are manufactured in China.
    How many operating systems are from out of USA? WIndows, Mac, Android, IOS?
    How many CPUs do not belong to USA companies? Intel, AMD? ARM from UK?
    How many gadget are from USA companies? CISCO, NVIDIA
    How many Internet services and software? Facebook, Google, Gmail, Whatsapp, Skype

    So they could "backdoor" a good share of market.
    And moreover. It lo

  • by Scorpinox ( 479613 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @01:30PM (#51487919)

    If you want to make software that uses cryptography available worldwide, you're already incentivized to develop it in a foreign country and import it to the US. There's no restriction on using foreign cryptography in the US, but there are legal hurdles you have to jump if you want to export cryptography from the US.

    OpenSSL themselves mentions exporting as an alternative to costly legal counsel:
    "The only other safe course of action would be to pay non-U.S. citizens to develop the cryptographic software overseas and import it into the U.S., as imports are not restricted. Foreigners who benefit financially from this situation refer to the U.S. “export jobs, not crypto” policy." https://www.openssl.org/docs/f... [openssl.org] (page 145)

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