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[liberationtech] Cryptography super-group creates unbreakable encryption

scarp scarp at
Thu Feb 7 09:25:09 PST 2013

Hash: SHA512

> Douglas Lucas:
>> Is it because something unverifiable is allegedly better than 
>> nothing? Even if we had divine knowledge to tell us Silent
>> Circle is secure, isn't it an overriding problem to encourage
>> lock-in of closed source being acceptable for something as common
>> as text-messaging?
>> It is good to have a scrappy talented young person such as Nadim 
>> being pesky to older, accepted people.
> Agreed, and this is one of the larger problems people in social 
> censorship bubbles, where basically if you don't have the tech you 
> can't talk to the person. One of the things that encryption 
> technologies like Off the Record Messaging try to bridge.
> Nobody wants to be forced to use specific technology from a
> specific individual or entity. It's bad enough everyone uses
> Facebook.
> Decentralization is the only way to avoid this becoming a weak
> link.

Which brings me to another point, what if in 1991 Phil Zimmermann said
you must use his bbs/email server to use PGP, and wouldn't release the
source for the encrypting client? I wonder if it would be as popular
as it is today if that was the case.

I find it also amusing:
> Shortly after its release, PGP encryption found its way outside the
> United States, and in February 1993 Zimmermann became the formal
> target of a criminal investigation by the US Government for
> "munitions export without a license". Cryptosystems using keys
> larger than 40 bits were then considered munitions within the
> definition of the US export regulations; PGP has never used keys
> smaller than 128 bits so it qualified at that time. Penalties for
> violation, if found guilty, were substantial. After several years,
> the investigation of Zimmermann was closed without filing criminal
> charges against him or anyone else. Zimmermann challenged these
> regulations in a curious way. He published the entire source code
> of PGP in a hardback book,[13]

To me this seems like a big middle finger to totalitarian government
dictating how and who it must be used by. Of course by this point the
government couldn't stop people using it even if they wanted to, the
source was everywhere.

Given his interest in anti-nuclear activism, I wonder if in today's
world that could have been construed as anti-government and possibly a
person of interest by the government.

The other question is what's to stop Apple being legally forced to
push a modified copy of this software to a person's phone that has a

While people might say this isn't possible due to XXX law, what is to
prevent one being created that changes that. Encryption technology's
effectiveness should not be based on what the government is allowed
and not allowed to do. I guess this is an inherent problem with
storing data in the cloud.

> For an annual price of $20/month (closer to $30/month on their
> 3-month plan)

Poorer people of poorer nations won't be able to afford this, and
neither will the average citizen care enough to pay this.

I don't imagine some factory worker in china for example who earns 50
cents a day being able to pay for this so he can talk about how shitty
the conditions are.

To me it seems like it will only get used by businesses and enterprise
needing security abroad rather than activists residing in areas where
they would need it in order to have some semblance of freedom.

- -- 
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