Search Mailing List Archives

Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by: Reverse Sort
Limit to: All This Week Last Week This Month Last Month
Select Date Range     through    

[liberationtech] [cryptopolitics] [cryptography] skype backdoor confirmation

Rich Kulawiec rsk at
Tue Jun 11 14:55:47 PDT 2013

Adam Back makes many excellent points in this message; I'd like to
focus on two of them.

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 07:31:59PM +0200, Eugen Leitl quoted Adam Back:
> Curiously many journalists and commentators seem to be suffering from
> repeated extremely naive failure to parse PR-speak.  They need to read more
> from Binney and re-listen to Snowden.  You cant expect to reverse engineer
> the architecture of something from a PR expert who is intentionally lying to
> you.

Correct.  As I've pointed out here and elsewhere, PR people are trained,
professional liars.  That's their JOB.  Some of them are extremely good
at it, to the point where they really can fool most of the people most
of the time.   This sometimes includes, as Adam noted, journalists and
commentators -- people who often have formidable wordsmithing skills
of their own.  They seem to forget who they're listening to and who
signs their paychecks.

I find it useful to simply presume that they're lying every single time
they speak.  This yields imperfect results, of course, but it's a better
first approximation to reality than naively presuming everything they
say is true.  And if weasel words are used, for example -- as is so
popular these days when massive security breaches occur as a result
of obvious incompetence and negligence -- something like:

	"We take our customers' privacy seriously."

then the approximation may be quite good indeed.

> No doubt the prime PRISM motivations were profit (defense contractors with
> big lobbing influence in the post 9-11 world) plus a bit of national
> security, chasing the odd bad guy.  But for proportionality in cost (the
> number of people killed by terrorists is a tiny tiny risk for western
> countries), and erosion of civil liberties (4th amendment to americans) this
> is an outrage.  Many people died historically fighting to rid the world of
> such facist governments.  We should not glibly build the means of
> democracies downfall.  

It is instructive, at this point, to read the history of Stasi.  What
the NSA is doing today looks very much as if it were architected using
the more "successful" Stasi programs as a blueprint.  They are, sadly,
constructing the machinery of fascism.  And in the process, they are
doing vastly more damage to the republic than all the terrorists in the
world could ever hope to do -- because all of them combined and
multiplied by a hundred could never threaten the existence of the nation
as much as this does.

	"What mistake?

	The first one, the one from which all mistakes proceed: the error
	of pride.  [...]  We applied all our wisdom, all our knowledge
	to opening a door to another dimension. [...]

	We forgot that a door may swing in two directions.  We were so
	concerned with getting out that we never stopped to consider
	what we might be letting in until it was too late."

In their hubris, in their self-righteousness, in their unquestioned
sureness of their cause, they have failed to ask themselves the most
important question -- which is not "what if we fail?" but "what if
we succeed?"


More information about the liberationtech mailing list