Not that Congress needs help to be stupid …
Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security
El Reg takes latest Burr-Feinstein legislation apart
Line by terrible line
Here at Vulture West we’ve gone through the legislation to see what exactly is in the bill. Here, for your delectation, are the worst bits:
All providers of communications services and products (including software) should protect the privacy of United States persons through implementation of appropriate data security and still respect the rule of law and comply with all legal requirements and court orders.
This is the crux of the issue. The senators want to have their cake – by requiring tech companies to protect their customers’ data – and eat it too – by insisting that law enforcement can break the code.
According to the best minds in cryptography this simply can’t be done – it’s not a moral or legislative issue but a mathematical one. Once you introduce a flaw into an encryption system, it’s impossible to stop others finding it, especially since you are mandating it is there by law and the prize is free access to all US data traffic, as evidenced in the Juniper case.
Burr and Feinstein don’t specify how this police backdoor could be managed and still protect data. Instead they have just said: “Here’s what we want – do it.”
As for the American public’s reaction, well that’s less certain. The US populace are largely complete pussies when it comes to terrorism and have – time and again – shown themselves willing to abandon hard-fought-for liberties whenever the T word comes up.
Good sense may prevail in the Land of the FreeTM, but don’t bet on it.
BitGold is the modern day embodiment of the global internet data/gold crypt envisioned in Neal Stepenson’s Cryptonomicon. While “reading” the Cryptonomicon last August (the first time) I began searching the Internet for digital gold solutions. I discovered several failed platforms … and BitGold. Coincidentally, BitGold had just announced entry into the US market.
YouTube and the Internet are awash with bombastic exhortations for and against the ownership of gold, fraught with dire predictions of the collapse of the US dollar and collapse of the global monetary system. Roy and Josh are above all that. Yes, they do point out the limitations of fiat money systems and yes, they do remind us that gold maintains its value literally forever, but they are calm, low key, and well reasoned. In coming posts, I will share those videos and other links that I find most interesting or useful. If you are interested, you can of course do your own research starting at BitGold.com.
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I just finished listening to Cryptonomicon for the second time. Cryptonomicon, published in 1999, is eerily prescient of the technological developments since then. Written at the dawn of the Internet it presages digital banking, digital encryption, and global telecommunications.
Cryptonomicon is a fascinating mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and techno-thriller. It follows two timelines – one in World War II, the other present day. The World War Two timeline follows the exploits and adventures of real and fictional characters involved in formulating and breaking the Nazi and Nipponese codes used to send vital wartime communications. The present day timeline follows what one quickly learns are the descendants of the WWII cast of characters who are building a data crypt and associated digital infrastructure in the Phillipines and Sultanate of Kinkuta. The past and present are woven together in a fine tapestry.
Neal Stephenson is at his best in Cryptonomicon. It is filled with action, suspense, and humor. A good read and a better listen. This is a must-read book for devotees of Stephenson, WWII, cryptology, and the Internet. I give it four thumbs up.