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Justice Department To Be More Aggressive In Seeking Encrypted Data From Tech Companies (wsj.com) 204

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): The Justice Department signaled Tuesday it intends to take a more aggressive posture in seeking access to encrypted information from technology companies, setting the stage for another round of clashes in the tug of war between privacy and public safety. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued the warning in a speech in Annapolis, Md., saying that negotiating with technology companies hasn't worked. "Warrant-proof encryption is not just a law enforcement problem," Mr. Rosenstein said at a conference at the U.S. Naval Academy. "The public bears the cost. When our investigations of violent criminal organizations come to a halt because we cannot access a phone, even with a court order, lives may be lost." Mr. Rosenstein didn't say what precise steps the Justice Department or Trump administration would take. Measures could include seeking court orders to compel companies to cooperate or a push for legislation. A Justice Department official said no specific plans were in the works and Mr. Rosenstein's speech was intended to spur public awareness and discussion of the issue because companies "have no incentive to address this on their own."

Justice Department To Be More Aggressive In Seeking Encrypted Data From Tech Companies

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:11AM (#55348865)

    "Violent criminal organizations" are the last thing on their minds when making these arguments. They want to go after dissent, after whistleblowers. They want to stalk their exes, commit industrial espionage and blackmail. They want to track the best moments to rape and murder, or to be able to plant evidence without alibis making their so-called discoveries as obviously fake as they can be.

    These powers would not and will never be used to make citizens or the country safer in any way, even if it could be used in this fashion. If there were any chance they could, they would never pursue them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Too bad we can't format and reinstall the federal government.

    • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @10:44AM (#55349491)

      Man, you are totally degrading our argument against these measures with this ridiculous line of reasoning. Of course these measures are useful against violent criminal organizations and actual people that wish to do harm. It's really trivial to find examples of this (like the dead San Bernardino shooter) and, with the way you've constructed your argument, you lose when an example like that comes out.

      What those of us that are serious concede is that there are plenty of times in which such a measure is legitimately useful, but nevertheless, the risk for abuse is far too great and that we understand that as a tradeoff we should forego the legitimate uses to protect against the abuse. This is no different than any other conception of civil liberties -- after all, we know for a fact that our system acquits guilty people for a variety of procedural and other reasons, and that some fraction of those people go on to violate more people's rights. But we accept that as the cost of defendants' protections. Similarly, we accept the concept of parole knowing that some (maybe low) fraction of parolees will commit crimes that violate people's rights. We don't insist that parole can't happen unless that fraction is identically zero.

      So quit it with the conspiratorial nonsense of imagining that this is some kind of plot. It's not, and you're making us look like loonies.

      What it is is that there are zealots for whatever cause that don't give a shit about our rights and believe that it's better to trample them in order to get the drugs/terrorist/mafia/whatever-bad-guy. And you know what, in a big way that's a lot fucking worse that someone actually wants to enact tyranny. These are guys that are delusional and think they are fighting the good fight.

      Oddly enough, besides making us look like loonies, your arguments give them cover by asserting that it must be bad motivations that lead to tyranny. It's exactly the opposite -- it's the zealous pursuit of good motives that pave the way to hell.

      Finally, and before I rant further, I want to quote the Supreme Court [justia.com] talking about the purpose of the Fourth Amendment:

      The point of the Fourth Amendment which often is not grasped by zealous officers is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate, instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.

      Any assumption that evidence sufficient to support a magistrate"s disinterested determination to issue a search warrant will justify the officers in making a search without a warrant would reduce the Amendment to a nullity, and leave the people"s homes secure only in the discretion of police officers. Crime, even in the privacy of one's own quarters, is, of course, of grave concern to society, and the law allows such crime to be reached on proper showing. The right of officers to thrust themselves into a home is also a grave concern, not only to the individual, but to a society which chooses to dwell in reasonable security and freedom from surveillance. When the right of privacy must reasonably yield to the right of search is, as a rule, to be decided by a judicial officer, not by a policeman or government enforcement agent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The things the other Anonymous Coward listed are all things that law enforcement have been caught doing red-handed, with powers such as the technically-illegal wiretapping. Looking up one's current or previous significant others has been shown to be a common problem. Planting evidence -
        usually drugs - has been caught numerous times on camera. Whistleblower protections (including protection of their identities) have been razed. Justine Ruszczyk was killed by an LEO with complaints of sexual abuse a

        • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @11:33AM (#55349811)

          I agree. These are all abuses that have happened. But that doesn't mean that the policies were put in place for the purpose of abuses rather than by zealous people after other ends.

          I think civil forfeiture is awful, but even I have to concede it has been a very useful tool at defunding drug conspiracies (not that I even believe in the War on Drugs in the first place). And I can understand how a zealous drug warrior would see that tool and not give a shit about people standing in the way. I still believe that the potential for abuse greatly outweighs the benefit, but it's madness to say that it was invented for the purpose of abusing it.

          So I have to argue against the zealot not because I think he is in a conspiracy to abuse our rights, but because he's after his own windmill and will burn us to the ground to get at it. If you still don't get that, I don't think I can help you.

      • Your argument falls apart under the reality that we were able to track basically all the bad guys even BEFORE the 9/11 Patriot Act crap. So many of the major terrorist attacks had the person/people behind it on a list or something, but we conveniently did nothing until after the event.

        The reality is that strict adherence to due process doesn't just protect the rights of citizens, it protects law enforcement and spies from information overload. Without those checks, we have more data than we can filter t

    • Case in point: the so called "USA Liberty Act" [house.gov]

      The Orwellian names they give these things are such a shiboleth. Anyone want to bet that the final version of the bill will be more of a threat to liberty than to actually preserve it?

    • Kind of makes me wonder; why do encryption if it's going to be exposed?
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Citizens that feel safe may begin to think about those that presume to lead them and other things that are obviously off. On the other hand, citizens that are in fear will grant the "authorities" any and all rights if they just promise to protect them. Hence you are perfectly right: Nobody in power has the slightest interest to make citizens safer.

  • Two-way street (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:13AM (#55348875)

    I wonder if they recognize the hypocrisy in this statement when numerous administrations also encrypt or destroy email archives prior to leaving office.

  • by drunken_boxer777 ( 985820 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:15AM (#55348895)

    ...you have to break a few eggs. A few lives lost every year due to "terrists" are a small price to pay for freedom.

    I am willing to risk the ridiculously small chance that my family and I will die in a terrorist incident in order to preserve our freedoms, despite continued government attempts to erode them (Patriot Act, etc.). I'd like to think that anyone sufficiently educated in mathematics and history would logically come to a similar conclusion.

    • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:23AM (#55348935)

      The governments ARE the terrorists with their blatant disregard for the constitution and human rights

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Funny thing is that the original meaning of "Terrorism" is the rule of a government by fear.

    • I'm with you on that, although as another points out, is it we who are becoming the terrorist (Particularly in Pakistan I believe). People have become too busy with their own lives to worry about others, and consequently their own lives are compromised in the process. The "enhancements" the government talks about hasn't made anyone any safer (didn't stop the LA incident or others before it), it just made us less able to have a voice. The only one made safer, is the government status quo. two parties who are
    • Are we safer now from terrorists than we were 15 years ago? I keep hearing that there is this huge terror threat and when I look around Europe, I can't help but see things blow up every now and then.

      So what purpose does it serve to eliminate more and more freedoms when there is exactly ZERO gain to show for it?

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Because the "DO SOMETHING" movement of the ~2000's brought on lots of changes. Politicians couldn't just stand by and do nothing when Bad Things happened so they called their buddies and figured out ways to make money off not fixing anything.

        And of course there's plenty of examples how Doing Something actually made things worse. 'Protecting our freedom' usually translates directly into impinging upon it in the form of invasive and pervasive searches, warrant-less phone tracking and recording, restricting

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        It basically went from "totally irrelevant as a personal risk" to "totally irrelevant as a personal risk". The purpose of eliminating freedoms is not to fight terrorism. That is just the pretext (i.e. propaganda-lie). The purpose of eliminating freedoms is tighter control over the population.

        Even a cursory look throughout history shows that this is always what those in power are after and that is why they must be carefully watched and reminded whom they serve from time to time. Democracy was supposed to est

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Agreed.

      I also wish the same would be applied more broadly to other industries. Like the TSA...but too many companies have too much interest in selling you $4 bottles of water in the airport and The Next Thing in naked-scanning machines.

      It's the same logic that drives people to buy the protection plans for their cell phones. Overall, it's better to save that money and put it towards repair/replacement...but people like the "protection" and anyone can point out "BUT OMG MY FRIEND BROKE THEIR PHONE THE FIRST

    • They'd much rather the 4th Amendment and the 5th go away, of course. Yes, encryption is a legitimate hurdle for law enforcement--and no, you can't ban it, because it's always out there, and the bad guys will just get smarter.

      They talk about terrorist organizations like they're a bunch of idiots living in some backwater shithole without running power, yet they're using WhatsApp encryption and so are bullet-proof and so encryption must go. When WA goes, the terrorists will get a technology group together

    • A few lives lost every year due to "terrists" are a small price to pay for freedom.

      Agreed.

      Although I put it a little differently: I'd rather live in a free but dangerous world than in an unfree but safe world.

      (Not that I really think that's the choice)

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        To be fair, if you are fully on-board with the oppressors, live in a totalitarian regime can be pretty safe. Of course, you need to sell your soul.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I am fully with you. Especially as I am far more likely to die cleaning my windows or crossing the road to go shopping, than by a terrorist. The price to pay here is really, really small and history has countless really awful examples what always happens when governments are not tightly kept under control.

  • by LS1 Brains ( 1054672 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:18AM (#55348911)
    This is the same pile of bovine excrement used in any attempt to destroy, um I mean "regulate" freedoms. They "may" have a slim shred of justification if there was concrete and irrefutable evidence of the imminent commission of a homicide, but we all know better.
  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:22AM (#55348927)

    ""Warrant-proof encryption is not just a law enforcement problem,"" It's actually a natural right for all human beings, so stop trying to violate it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:23AM (#55348939)

    Secure encryption increases public safety. If the government can't break into everybodies data criminals can't either.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:24AM (#55348945)

    When our investigations of violent criminal organizations come to a halt because we cannot access a phone, even with a court order, lives may be lost.

    Lives may be lost, but liberty will be preserved.

    Let's put the cards on the table, shall we? This has little or nothing to do with saving lives, and everything about garnering power through the acquisition of data...lots and lots of data. While those who seek this power wouldn't word it quite this way, it's about a nation subjugating its citizenry.

    Next step, aerosolized chemical agents to keep people calm and docile. You want Reavers? Cause that's how you get Reavers.

    • More than liberty, because weakening encryption doesn't just allow warrants to get data it also leaves an opening for those criminal organizations they are so worried about.

      You can't secure a house by leaving the back door unlocked and law enforcement should know that. I think it would do more damage when exploited than any good they might intend.

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Forget the back door...the government has quite literally millions of people walking through 1000's upon 1000's of doors.

        The CIA can't keep their own hacking tools away from hackers.

        The military can't keep it's secret and illegal wiretapping, etc. out of the limelight.

        The police can't keep quiet about illegally tracking cell phones.

        An (private!!!) agency allowed to actively collect and track PII for the entire country (and several others) without the direct consent of any individual couldn't prevent their e

        • When ever there is an opportunity for profit someone will find a way leaving them an easy in is going to do more damage than any supposed good and very possibly any abuse of power. $16 billion to identity theft in the US alone last year they need to be finding ways to make encryption more secure.

    • Tanks for the Firefly reference. UDABES! Clearly /. understands what is happening as we move into dystopia, butt the hoi polloi just keep their noses to the grindstone and do their wage slave, tax mule bit as if everything is just fine and dandy. The only way out is through, so gird yourselves and get away from urbanity iff you can...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:26AM (#55348965)

    ....the stage for another round of clashes in the tug of war between privacy and public safety.

    No, there is a clash between privacy and dragnet operations by lazy and corrupt law enforcement.

    They collect all this data for our "security" and yet, some cranky old guy gets 23 guns and shoots up Las Vegas under their noses. Or two punk ass kids blow up a Boston marathon.

    If you have to rely on personal data in order to get the person under investigation to basically incriminate themselves, then there is something horribly lacking in their investigation. You would have to be one brilliant criminal mastermind to have the only evidence against you be on your electronic device - actually an idiot savant - brilliant enough not to have any way of proving your crimes but stupid enough to keep a record on your personal device.

    • ....the stage for another round of clashes in the tug of war between privacy and public safety.

      No, there is a clash between privacy and dragnet operations by lazy and corrupt law enforcement.

      This.

      Seriously, if your entire investigation hinges on the contents of one locked cell phone, you couldn't be doing it more wrong.

  • Plea to emotion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryptizard ( 2629853 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:27AM (#55348975)
    It bothers me how his argument is almost entirely a plea to emotion. It might as well be, "think about the children." Even if he is correct, that some violent criminals are getting away with crimes because we can't prosecute due to strong encryption, how many of those incidents are we willing to pay for more secure devices? It pains me to say it, but if we had to trade 10 murders for a few billion dollars of economic damage due to preventable cyber crime, I think there are very few people who would choose the second option. We know human lives have a price in this country or else we would have universal health care by now...

    Another aggravating point in his speech is that he says, "we [the DoJ] are in the business of preventing crime and saving lives." That is not true. He is in the business of prosecuting crime and getting convictions. There are actually very few incentives for him to reduce crime. If removing encryption let him convict more criminals, and then had the side-effect of increasing cyber crime, leading to more criminal convictions, that is a win/win for him.
  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:41AM (#55349047)
    China, Russia, the UK and now the USA. Our constitution, even the pretence of it, as the US is increasingly not a government for the people or even by the people, but over the people regardless of what it believes. At least Russia and China are straightforward about it. We claim to be difference yet we push ourselves further and further towards the very people we openly condemn. Japan and France are starting to look pretty good right now. Canada is okay, for the moment, but given it's proximity and trying to retain it's "buddy, buddy" status with the USA, it may well go the same route or at least route data to the USA ever so quietly violating not only privacy, but it's own sovereignty. So when is the public going to say "enough". Even Snowden's sacrifice (and others before him) to show us what is going on so we can act, seems to have barely made people aware, and then they go back to "business as usual", save for the few exceptional people, who will be targets for questions the direction of the "status quo". Curse the Bush family for starting it, and curse those after them who kept expanding it. (And that includes Obama I'm sorry to say).
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @09:41AM (#55349049) Homepage

    It sounds like they want encryption with a backdoor for law enforcement to get into with a warrant. Even putting aside the abuse of power that would happen (e.g. government getting a rubber stamped warrant to look at someone's phone because they don't like his political views), this is worrying. There is no such thing as "a backdoor only for law enforcement." If you make a backdoor, hackers and other governments WILL find it and WILL exploit it. Unlike a normal vulnerability, which can be patched when found, if this backdoor gets out it won't be able to be patched. The government agencies will demand that it remains open for them even while other entities abuse it.

    "Law enforcement only" backdoors will just make security much weaker for everyone while not really improving much in the way of security on the law enforcement side.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If they mandate encryption be weakened in this way, everyone will simply use over-the-top encryption after the mandate-afflicted layer. (Yes, I mean "afflicted".)

    • by c ( 8461 )

      "Law enforcement only" backdoors will just make security much weaker for everyone...

      To be honest, that's starting to look like a spectacularly good idea.

      Er... you do mean backdoors only on law enforcement communications, right?

    • Not only that, but it is a high profile target. The holy grail of crypto cracking. We're not talking about some hacker in Generistan wanting this, we're talking about governments wanting this. Anyone who has access to such a key is a target. For governments. From Iran to North Korea.

      How long until one of them hears "You want to give me the key, because you do love your kids!"

      We're talking about actors who have no problem snuffing out thousands of their own population, you think they'd have a problem holding

      • And any hacker who stumbles across it could get very rich by selling it to some state agency. Granted, they might have to hope said agency doesn't pay them and then have them "disappear", but it's not like these people operate completely within the law to begin with.

    • My initial reaction is also one of outrage and frustration. I started to formulate a response to express that when I realized that most of the other commenters would be doing the same.

      (Does it need to be said? Does it need be said now? Does it need to be said by me?) I answered "no" to the last one.

      Having read through the comments, it appears to me that there are zero supporters of mandating government access to encrypted files. I haven't seen anything new added to the discussion either, which makes this

      • Going back to the pre-computer days, you'd get a warrant, raid the person's place of business, and seize their paper files. Those would give you the information you needed to convict. They could "encrypt" the paper files using code words and the like, but that could be broken pretty easily.

        The government is trying to tie this model to computer searches. Most times, it will work. You raid someone's home/office, seize the computers, and sift through them for evidence. Without encryption, this can still work.

        • I think you didn't read the link: The Golden Key Fallacy [phantomcode.com], because what you argue first is exactly the fallacy I pointed out there. You go on to make the same argument I made immediately below that link: It Wouldn't Accomplish the Goal [phantomcode.com], namely that encryption exists independently of whatever rules or laws might be made. It looks like you're ignoring the issues I was trying to raise for discussion.

          So, first off, it is possible to keep a key secure. Apple has such a key and they've apparently kept it secure (p

    • The DAG is not asking for a universal back door, he wants something more like key escrow. Apple will keep a copy of every user's key which can be used by Apple to decrypt data if they are served with a warrant. Alternatively, they could have a separate "master key" for each device that unlocks the secure enclave and decrypts the phone. These keys could be set at manufacture and stored in an air-gapped vault or something.

      There are ways to do this that don't introduce a lot of risk of accidental discove
      • The DAG is not asking for a universal back door, he wants something more like key escrow.

        Which is equally problematic.

        Alternatively, they could have a separate "master key" for each device that unlocks the secure enclave and decrypts the phone.

        Which is a backdoor.

      • Somebody who gets it.

        Lets go down a slightly different rabbit hole. Maybe what we've been told isn't true. Maybe Apple hasn't kept the private signing key secret from our government. Before I expound on that, I want to point out that Apple's key doesn't decrypt the data on the phone. Apple's key signs the software that the phone automatically downloads which is used to prompt for a password and use that password to decrypt the actual key which is in turn used to decrypt the actual data. This means that Appl

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Govs want what they had for
      SISMI-Telecom scandal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      Greek wiretapping case 2004–05 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]–05
  • You can't get civil libertarians to even agree that people should be required to open up devices when presented with a warrant. Whenever the courts think it might be a fifth amendment right, a lot of people here cheer, even though that is ultimately self-defeating. If you can defeat a valid warrant by asserting the 5th, you have just made the 5th an enemy of the 4th amendment. That is not a healthy place for the Bill of Rights to be.

    I have a simpler idea:

    1. We pass a law making people responsible for rememb

    • If you can defeat a valid warrant

      The valid warrant is not defeated. They can have the encrypted data. If they ask for unencrypted data, they're asking for something that didn't exist at the moment they asked for it.

      #1 and #2 are already being treated as contempt of court. And this is worse than being prosecuted, because you aren't even given a sentencing term.

      Common sense is not controlling encryption. It's maintaining 5th amendment rights - see the exclusionary rule [wikipedia.org].

    • Are you a politician or just a layman in complete ignorance when it comes to encryption?

      I cannot remember my encryption key. Here's a few bytes of my old one, please memorize it:

      CVLO3yiPSAeTjx4UKuquK06APlvtVrT4BF0YUOzCjE5RvIK2AXqGzz6...

      there's about 150 more characters, but I guess you get the idea.

      And I have a different one for every device I own. It might dawn on you just why it's kinda unfeasible to remember something like this.

    • This is really simple no.

      Encryption has nothing at all to do with the 4th, they can have the data or the object holding the data all they want. Making extremely hard to open safes was a thing when this was thought of even ones that would destroy the contents if they were tampered with. Using codes was also very common at the time. This is not something new that we need to figure out how to deal with it's an old solved issue they are trying to make an end run around.

      As to your specifics, good encryption c

  • stupid and evil.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @10:14AM (#55349289)

    Then stop abusing your power. As it is now, the likelihood of someone being damaged by you HAVING access to data is higher than if you don't.

  • "The public bears the cost. When our investigations of violent criminal organizations come to a halt because we cannot access a phone, even with a court order, lives may be lost."

    Always the same bullshit.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      Always the same bullshit.

      There's a certain amount of authenticity and credibility to bullshit.

      This is pure chickenshit, as bullshit is far less petty.


  • I don't want to trust security devices or methods, I want them to be bulletproof. Al-Qaeda used a fucking hotmail account for months and they were not caught. How is this backdoor BS gonna stop anything?

    As long as the government is weakening security then security remains weak for everyone and those that have to "trust" simply use soemthing else.

    In short, this method of backdoors is not preventing crime or catching out organised crime it's just making everything compromisable eg wrose.

    Multi-factor mul
  • I support the authority of any government to lawfully query any company under its jurisdiction for as much data as it wants.

    The ultimate problem here is that companies still control all your data. The long term solution is you should have a "my cloud" box in your basement. That's where your data lives, or at least the O(1) encryption keys for the O(n) amount of data you have elsewhere. In that situation government will need to request data from you directly if they want it.

    There really is a strictly technic

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      The ultimate problem here is that companies still control all your data.

      A lot of services have the encryption handled at the user endpoint - the company only handles encrypted data for which they have no key.

      As far as the company is concerned, you're feeding them pool of random numbers.

      For Law enforcement, encoded documents aren't new problem. Law enforcement (and militaries) have been unable to read ciphertexts for far longer than computers have been around. Classical ciphers have often proven impossible to crack. Parts of Kryptos [wikipedia.org] have yet to be deciphered, even by the NSA. Th

  • I could jump into a long discussion about how anyone, anyone, who thinks it is possible to have perfect encryption that also just-so-happens to let perfectly benevolent law enforcement in, is either ignorant of the technology, lying to achieve some other purpose, or simply doesn't care about keeping us safe from the broader and more potent dangers of weak encryption.

    I could do that, but CGP Gray has done a fine job of it in one five-minute video [youtube.com].
  • A tech company should not have the capacity to compromise security. (Since all companies can be coerced, whether legally or illegally, and your computer won't ever know the difference.) At worst they should only be able to deploy malware which uses a covert channel to leak keys or something. The crypto itself (which will probably also involve key exchange, though not always) needs to be done in a way that complies with a standard (i.e. there are multiple competing tools, by different developers, that can wo

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @11:47AM (#55349891)

    First, to hear the Justice department tell it, they must have been unable to solve crimes back before networks existed. Which is clearly BS.

    Second, if their argument is to be taken seriously, then we also need to have laws preventing people from owning safes unless they give a copy of the key/combo to the government.

  • I'm going to start with a quote from an AC, because some of you block AC's even if they're modded up to +5:

    "Violent criminal organizations" are the last thing on their minds when making these arguments. They want to go after dissent, after whistleblowers. They want to stalk their exes, commit industrial espionage and blackmail. They want to track the best moments to rape and murder, or to be able to plant evidence without alibis making their so-called discoveries as obviously fake as they can be.

    These powers would not and will never be used to make citizens or the country safer in any way, even if it could be used in this fashion. If there were any chance they could, they would never pursue them.

    I actually couldn't have said it any better myself. Go search in the recent news; Trump has been openly hunting down regular citizens who have spoken out against him. Why would he do that if not to persecute them, perhaps to the point of false charges being raised against them, as a punitive action for DARING to speak out against the Great and Mighty Donald J. Trump, (LOL)? Note also that way too many

  • In order to make everyone safe, we have to restrict law abiding citizen's access to guns and encryption, The only people who need encryption must be people who have something to hide; just like the only people who need something stronger than a bb-gun must be people who want to shoot innocent people in the streets.
    • Except that I'm not worried if a psychotic person has 100 encryption algorithms and thousands of private keys.
      • So would a psychotic person intent on inflicting pain and damage pay any more attention to laws against encryption than he would to laws against guns?
        • No, but laws are not only useful when people voluntarily follow them. If it is illegal to have anthrax, then we can arrest people who are found in possession of anthrax (i.e. assume they were going to do something bad with it) rather than being forced to wait until they cross the line from law abiding anthrax enthusiast to bio-terrorist before taking action.

          I'm not even making a claim about how much gun control there should be. What I am claiming is that I am not worried about encryption in the hands of p

          • What about a psycho who straps a bomb to you, and the only way to disarm it is to break incredibly strong encryption?

            Don't laugh, it's not as far-fetched as you might think.

            • I guess I would maybe more scared of that if it happened every couple months. And even then, it's not clear that the addition of encryption to the situation makes it worse. What would this psycho do without the ability to incorporate encryption into his psychotic fantasies? Would he just blow the bomb up with a timer? If the encryption is actually strong, then there is no difference, because you aren't going to crack it.

              I mean, we could invent an example where a psycho straps a bomb to you and won't rel

              • What would this psycho do without the ability to incorporate encryption into his psychotic fantasies? Would he just blow the bomb up with a timer?

                Probably.

                Which is what makes it a facile argument in both cases - a crazy asshole that wants to kill people will find a way, and no amount of laws or banning of inanimate objects will stop him.

                Ergo, my point.

                • I don't think this is a bad point to make. I've made this point a lot myself. I think to the extent that if a person is determined to kill a lot of other people, by any means necessary, laws against guns, or even the successful elimination of guns from our society is not going to stop that person.

                  You can extend that argument to advocate for the legalization of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. A determined person will be able to get a hold of weapons of mass destruction anyway, so why bother pro

          • There is a big difference between making something illegal that should always be illegal (e.g. anthrax) and making something illegal that has many legitimate uses (e.g. guns and encryption). That was my point. Outlawing something very useful just because someone abuses it to harm others is not a good reason.
            • I am not saying that guns don't have legitimate uses, nor am I saying we should outlaw them. What I am saying is that regardless of the legality of either of these things, I don't think encryption in the hands of a psychotic person is dangerous, or if it is, I can't think of how it is, and so this doesn't worry me the way that having guns or a hammer, or anything that can be used to hurt someone in the hands of a psychotic person does.

              I am just pointing out that guns are a very direct way to cause a lot of

  • This is another argument for a decentralized web. Too much of our data is congregating in the hands of fewer and fewer players. We are going back to the mainframe days where all the data was managed in a central location. Everything is being stored in 'the cloud' which is just another name for somebody else's hard drive where it can be copied, stolen, or turned over to the government. Time for the pendulum to start swinging the other way.
  • ``Mr. Rosenstein's speech was intended to spur public awareness and discussion of the issue because companies `have no incentive to address this on their own.' ''

    Ha! I think the public--much of it, anyway--is already very aware that companies are resisting government intrusion into the content of their ``personal devices'' or providing back doors that allow the government to waltz right into their phones and/or computers. What the public is largely unaware of is how many of these tech companies don't both

  • For Facebook, shadowy "big data", Twitter, Google, Microsoft, *Gram, Pokemon and all of the subpoena-enabled Orwellian spy shit being intentionally baked into every toaster oven on the planet.

    Troves of new leads and capabilities previously wouldn't have possibly in their wildest dreams been able to pursuit is not enough. It will never be enough for LEA who sees their mission in a vacuum as the only consideration of import.

    Each act of aggression towards tech companies offering mass communication services on

  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued the warning in a speech in Annapolis, Md., saying that negotiating with technology companies hasn't worked. "Warrant-proof encryption is not just a law enforcement problem," Mr. Rosenstein said at a conference at the U.S. Naval Academy. "The public bears the cost. When our investigations of violent criminal organizations come to a halt because we cannot access a phone, even with a court order, lives may be lost."

    Translation: We want to continue sacrificing billions around the world to dictatorship because we are missing a tiny handful of criminal notches in our belt.

    These are needed to prevent thuggery from accessing info that challenges their dictatorsbips. That is sufficient.

  • I don't rely on third party services for crypto, preferring to do it myself.

    For the longest time, I thought that just made me weird. Now, it's starting to look like it makes me prescient.

    The government can't stop my use of strong crypto, they can only stop third party services from using it.

  • His argument would work equally to defend requiring every home builder to include a recording device in every home so that law enforcement could, with a subpeona or warrant, access the recordings to investigate crimes.

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