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[liberationtech] Whatsapp, a Trojan horse for seekers of easy privacy?

Leif Ryge leif at synthesize.us
Fri Jan 16 14:07:47 PST 2015


On Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 01:37:12PM -0800, Al Billings wrote:
> 
> > On Jan 16, 2015, at 12:18 PM, carlo von lynX <lynX at time.to.get.psyced.org>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > Al, you may want to deviate the discussion towards the 10.000th debate
> > about proprietary vs free software, but the topic here is the impossibility
> > for a U.S. company to deliver what it promises.
> 
> And I asked, and got no answer, as to which nation a company could be in and
> not be just as potentially compromised. I’m still waiting for a substantive
> answer.
> 
> Al

I did see two answers earlier, Iceland and Switzerland. There are many other
countries besides those two where it also seems very unlikely that companies
would be subjected to the sort of legal orders that we now know US companies
routinely receive. That obviously doesn't mean that TAO or GCHQ's equivalent
won't try to compromise them without their knowledge, but that approach is
obviously a much riskier and less reliable than the legal means used in the US.

As to the proprietary software issue, while I personally recommend using only
free software, at least one of the solutions to the problem of targetted
malicious software updates applies equally well to both: record hashes of all
released binaries in a decentralized append-only log so that users can at least
be reasonably sure that they're running the same thing as everyone else. (There
are several efforts underway in this direction.)

~leif



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