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[liberationtech] to encrypt or not to encrypt?

Michael Rogers michael at
Fri Jun 21 08:52:03 PDT 2013

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It's unfortunate that Ars Technica has chosen that angle, since I
believe it misrepresents the situation: if you use encryption, the NSA
may indeed retain your encrypted traffic, but won't be able to read
it. If you don't use encryption, the NSA will be able to read your
traffic, and will retain it if it contains anything interesting, or if
you're not an American. So encryption is still a net gain for privacy.

Blending in is a red herring in my opinion - metadata (which isn't
subject to the restrictions discussed in the Ars Technica article)
reveals who talks to whom and when. That's sufficient to identify
persons of interest, regardless of whether they use encryption. Any
activist or journalist should assume they're already a person of
interest, thanks to their job and the people they talk to. Not to be
subject to surveillance would be something of a professional
embarrassment. ;-) So forget about blending in. Assume you're subject
to surveillance, and think about what steps you're going to take in


On 21/06/13 16:41, dan mcquillan wrote:
> a few people who came to our university cryptoparty asked whether 
> they're just going to draw attention to themselves by encrypting
> email.
> the latest leaks seems to give a firm 'yes', as the NSA
> specifically keeps encrypted comms indefinitely.
> sample news item:
> how would list members answer the question 'to encrypt or not to
> encrypt'?
> cheers dan
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