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[liberationtech] secure voice options for china?

Seth David Schoen schoen at
Tue Feb 17 16:17:52 PST 2015

Tim Libert writes:

> thanks all for the many good suggestions!  however, in absence of a clear consensus, I will advise my friend to avoid voice and stick to encrypted email.  my understanding is that the new leadership in china isn’t f#cking around, so the risk/reward equation here suggests heightened caution - especially as I cannot make assumptions on technical know-how of parties involved.

A countervailing point is that encrypted e-mail with the mainstream
technologies used for that purpose never provides forward secrecy, while
most voice encryption techniques do.  So with the use of encrypted e-mail,
there is an ongoing risk into the future (assuming that a recipient's
private key still exists somewhere), while with the voice encryption,
the risk may be time-limited -- assuming that the implementations were
correct enough, and that the key exchange was based on a mathematical
problem that will remain hard for an attacker.

As a simple analogy, sometimes people prefer to have a phone call about
sensitive matters because it doesn't "create records", while writing a
letters would "make a paper trail".  The technical reasons behind the
analogy don't transfer at all, but there might still be something to the
intuition that the encrypted phone call can be more ephemeral than the
encrypted mail.

Seth Schoen  <schoen at>
Senior Staff Technologist             
Electronic Frontier Foundation        
815 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA  94109       +1 415 436 9333 x107

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