Monday, April 11, 2016


Andy Greenberg (via John Gruber):

As Apple battled the FBI for the last two months over the agency’s demands that Apple help crack its own encryption, both the tech community and law enforcement hoped that Congress would weigh in with some sort of compromise solution. Now Congress has spoken on crypto, and privacy advocates say its “solution” is the most extreme stance on encryption yet.


It’s a nine-page piece of legislation that would require people to comply with any authorized court order for data—and if that data is “unintelligible,” the legislation would demand that it be rendered “intelligible.” In other words, the bill would make illegal the sort of user-controlled encryption that’s in every modern iPhone, in all billion devices that run Whatsapp’s messaging service, and in dozens of other tech products. “This basically outlaws end-to-end encryption,” says Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It’s effectively the most anti-crypto bill of all anti-crypto bills.”


The draft reflects an ignorance of everyday computer security practices that safeguard your devices and information from criminals. As currently written, the draft likely even outlaws forward secrecy, an innovative security feature that many major tech providers, including WhatsApp, have implemented to limit the damage to user privacy in the event encryption keys are compromised.

Previously: FBI Asks Apple for Secure Golden Key.

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And that's why computer literacy can no longer be optional for people who want to participate in democracy.

Since San Bernardino, the great Marcy Wheeler keeps making the suggestion that Tim Cook should stage a very showy trip to Ireland looking at real estate, while muttering something non-specific about planning for contingencies.

I think she's half-joking / half-serious, but I genuinely think it's a really smart idea.

To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, stupidity and evil, or in this case, more accurately, tyranny, look pretty much the same if you judge by the results. However, the Wired author to me displays an almost comical level of naïveté by ascribing this to simple stupidity. One has merely to look at Feinstein's track record in general. Remember kids, when they come for your rights and freedoms, they don't come for just one or two of them.

FWIW, as someone who watches the Capitoline sausage factory, this bill is not ignorant by non-design.

It's designed to be ignorant. It's a DOA bill, and the folks behind it fully know that. This is a long game.

This is first bid. The thing to worry about is the eventual "compromise" bill that removes a bit of ignorance from this bid...

(Seriously, if Tim Cook wants to play for real, he should go on a casual sight-seeing tour of Ireland.)

"And that's why computer literacy can no longer be optional for people who want to participate in democracy."

Great in principle. But, at least in the US context, not a majority of valence either of the two branches. The Supremes are different, but have their own issues.

All "people" have in the US democracy are corporate proxies, In short, it's a power play to see if Tim Cook and any allies can fight off Clipper Chip Redux.

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