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[liberationtech] Cryptography super-group creates unbreakable encryption

Andy Isaacson adi at
Thu Feb 7 11:15:16 PST 2013

On Thu, Feb 07, 2013 at 02:11:22AM -0700, Christopher Soghoian wrote:
> It is clear that you seem to have developed a foaming-in-the-mouth,
> irrational hate of Silent Circle. As such, anyone who fails to denounce
> Phil Zimmermann as the great Satan is, in your eyes, some kind of corrupt
> shill.

Silent Circle has some significant credibility gaps.  They repeatedly
claimed, and AFAIK continue to claim, to be "open source", but the
source isn't even available for inspection under restrictive license,
much less actually open source per OSI or DFSG or common sense
guidelines.  They haven't justified or explained this gap in any of
their statements I've seen.

They're trading very heavily on the excellent pedigrees of their
principals, while making outlandish and unsupported claims to credulous
mainstream journalists.

Your participation in their marketing interviews makes you complicit in
this problematic enterprise, Chris.

I think it's incredibly unfair of you to attack Nadim for pointing out
the flaws in this system without addressing your role in those flaws.

We all want privacy and security for users.  Silent Circle's
misappropriation of the "open source" label and hagiographic mainstream
press treatment in advance of actual public review, abetted by a wide
variety of experts and public voices, is deeply problematic for the
liberation technology community's role in civil society.

Silent Circle may be an excellent privacy app.  It might not have any
significant security problems.  It might even do a good job of
mitigating important platform-based attacks and supporting important new
use cases (the "burn after reading" feature).  When it's actually open
source I'll take a look and if it is good, I'll recommend it to users.

Until that open review happens, I think it's inappropriate for voices in
our community to commend or recommend such a proprietary system.  Each
person makes their own choices, of course, and nobody should base their
actions solely on what *I* think is right, but I hope you can hear my
concerns and consider the outcomes of your actions.


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