Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Sep 2010 08:09 UTC
Internet & Networking "Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is 'going dark' as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications - including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct 'peer to peer' messaging like Skype - to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages." I could quote Benjamin Franklin again - but I'm starting to suspect that our politicians (this isn't just a US thing, it happens all over the world) have no respect for the wise men and women who fought for the principles we are now trying to shove upon the rest of the world. How can the west push freedom and liberty around the world while at the same time taking them away at home?
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ecpeachy
Member since:
2010-06-07

How can the west push freedom and liberty around the world while at the same time taking them away at home?

No, Simply they really are using it as an excuse to intervene in other nations affairs, to broaden their control and tighten their grip.

Reply Score: 9

bombuzal Member since:
2010-07-22

Indeed; It's disgusting. It reminds me of that propaganda poster where the US [personified] are on a machine, feeding a country above while consuming the land under their feet. Now of course a more passive-aggressive approach is taken ;) .

All the little things add together, I myself am not a conspiracy theorist but the ever-growing control and influence of the US over the world is an observable fact. Even their wretched media and news channels are pushed into developing countries at very special rates (or free!) and the demand for it is strong.

We already know that certain agencies have control over a range of systems in most European countries; the sleeping world has passively watched a true invasion - we're yet to witness the final payload though.

Edited 2010-09-28 10:40 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Encrypting illegal
by mat69 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 11:05 UTC
mat69
Member since:
2006-03-29

Once I read a book -- forgot its title -- where in a future world encrypting amongst other means to ensure your privacy was protected were deemed illegal. If you have nothing to hide why should you encrypt anything.

These ideas target the exact same area, since those politicans pushing these agendas will realise once that it is not possible to ensure that good encryption can be wiretaped, unless they "control" either the recipient or the sender of the messages. The next step would be to forbid good encryption for all the possible "criminals" and "terrorists", i.e. every citizen and later every non-US company.

PS.: I agree, if you have nothing to hide you do not need encryption, but the need to hide something depends also on the entity you want to hide stuff from not only your actions. And an entity that does want to take privacy of its citizens away -- i.e. it does not trust its own people -- is highly dubious and does not deserve my trust in return.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 11:32 UTC in reply to "Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The next step would be to forbid good encryption for all the possible "criminals" and "terrorists", i.e. every citizen and later every non-US company.


However much they might wish it, such a prohibition is beyond the capabilities of the US government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard
http://www.gnupg.org/

The code is out there. Everyone on the planet has access to it. Even people who might somehow fail to co-operate with US-made laws have access to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psi_%28instant_messaging_client~*~...
http://psi-im.org/features/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off-the-Record_Messaging
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigform

Edited 2010-09-28 11:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Encrypting illegal
by mrhasbean on Tue 28th Sep 2010 11:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Encrypting illegal"
mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

However much they might wish it, such a prohibition is beyond the capabilities of the US government.


Does anyone honestly think this is just the US govt's doing? There's a much bigger plan in play than that...

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"However much they might wish it, such a prohibition is beyond the capabilities of the US government.


Does anyone honestly think this is just the US govt's doing? There's a much bigger plan in play than that...
"

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html?_r=3&pagewanted...
FTA:
U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.


As reported, the scope so far is strictly US.

I'm not at all sure how they plan to affect BlackBerry, because BlackBerry is Canadian, is it not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry
Yes, Canadian.

I note that the article actually said "like BlackBerry".

Edited 2010-09-28 12:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Encrypting illegal
by mat69 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Encrypting illegal"
mat69 Member since:
2006-03-29

It does not matter where a company is from, what matters is where it wants to sell their stuff.

E.g. a lot of companies are discouraged to sell stuff to Cuba as they would be punished by the US when trying to sell their stuff in the US as well. And as that market is pretty large the resulting decisions are always the same.

The US could simply force BlackBerry to sell "wiretap"-versions of their products to the US and also to sell "wiretap"-versions to countries the US does not recognise as worthwhile partners. All that only because the US is a large market hardly anyone can ignore.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It does not matter where a company is from, what matters is where it wants to sell their stuff.

E.g. a lot of companies are discouraged to sell stuff to Cuba as they would be punished by the US when trying to sell their stuff in the US as well. And as that market is pretty large the resulting decisions are always the same.

The US could simply force BlackBerry to sell "wiretap"-versions of their products to the US and also to sell "wiretap"-versions to countries the US does not recognise as worthwhile partners. All that only because the US is a large market hardly anyone can ignore.


So you would argue that the US wants to hand the majority of the global market for secure hand-helds over to a Chinese firm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Corporation

or perhaps to a Finnish firm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia

... and to simultaneously strangle a Canadian business over which it also has no jurisdiction?

To what end?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Encrypting illegal
by mat69 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Encrypting illegal"
mat69 Member since:
2006-03-29

You miss the point imho.

HTC is doing business in the US as is Nokia as a result they all could be forced to sell certain versions of their products in the US and as well be bullied into doing that in other countries. I have no clue to what extent the later would be succesful.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 23:33 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

You miss the point imho. HTC is doing business in the US as is Nokia as a result they all could be forced to sell certain versions of their products in the US and as well be bullied into doing that in other countries. I have no clue to what extent the later would be succesful.


You miss the point imho. HTC and Nokia are both world-leading suppliers of mobile handheld devices. For both of them the US represents only a small fraction of their business.

They would both probably be better off keeping a feature of strong encryption without supplying a backdoor for US government agencies, and perhaps thereby giving up sales in the US, as a trade-off for effectively eliminating competition in the worldwide markets from US-supplied handhelds such as the iPhone.

The European market alone is much bigger than the US market, let alone consideration of the Asian market.

Edited 2010-09-28 23:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Encrypting illegal
by Vinegar Joe on Tue 28th Sep 2010 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Encrypting illegal"
Vinegar Joe Member since:
2006-08-16

So you would argue that the US wants to hand the majority of the global market for secure hand-helds over to a Chinese firm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Corporation



HTC is Taiwanese not Chinese.

Edited 2010-09-28 18:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"So you would argue that the US wants to hand the majority of the global market for secure hand-helds over to a Chinese firm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Corporation
HTC is Taiwanese not Chinese. "

Taiwan is part of the Republic of China.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Encrypting illegal
by UglyKidBill on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Encrypting illegal"
UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

"The next step would be to forbid good encryption for all the possible "criminals" and "terrorists", i.e. every citizen and later every non-US company.


However much they might wish it, such a prohibition is beyond the capabilities of the US government.
"
There is an aspect many people seems to oversee in this matters: of course such prohibitions can be worked around, and "bad" people will, after all they are "criminals", right?,

The issue here is that this mostly hits honest people who is faced with the "option" to either comply or become a felon (that´s Criminal with capital C).

While individuals might be confident that they will not get in troouble since they are not important enough, what happens to companies wanting to use -in this case- encryption to secure their data or to build their bussines around it? Not a pretty perspective IMHO.

Beyond that, some have been calling it for years: "Criminal By Default"

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"The next step would be to forbid good encryption for all the possible "criminals" and "terrorists", i.e. every citizen and later every non-US company.

However much they might wish it, such a prohibition is beyond the capabilities of the US government.

There is an aspect many people seems to oversee in this matters: of course such prohibitions can be worked around, and "bad" people will, after all they are "criminals", right?,

The issue here is that this mostly hits honest people who is faced with the "option" to either comply or become a felon (that´s Criminal with capital C).
"

The stated reason for proposing this bill is: "arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone"

Criminals will still use encryption. Even if US govt dearly wants to mandate a backdoor, I'm fairly certain that the criminals (who are the supposed reason for this whole initiative) won't feel inclined to co-operate.

Further to that point, said criminals already have the code, without any backdoors included. For example:
http://psi-im.org/features/
Always-on security
...
For advanced security needs, Psi can also encrypt messages end-to-end with OpenPGP.


I'm pretty sure that criminals wouldn't consider the Internet (with government-mandated backdoors added) to be a trusted network. So they would simply "encrypt messages end-to-end with OpenPGP", and thereby frustrate any backdoor.

So what exactly is the reason for this initiative, again?

Hmmmmmmm?

Edited 2010-09-28 12:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Encrypting illegal
by UglyKidBill on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Encrypting illegal"
UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

So what exactly is the reason for this initiative, again?

Hmmmmmmm?

As we both say, it is not really about fighting terrorists or criminals, that´s just the excuse.
My answer would be:
- Leveraging control
- Criminalizing custom security
- Criminalizing privacy

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"So what exactly is the reason for this initiative, again?

Hmmmmmmm?

As we both say, it is not really about fighting terrorists or criminals, that´s just the excuse.
My answer would be:
- Leveraging control
- Criminalizing custom security
- Criminalizing privacy
"

If the US is a freedom-supporting democracy, why is its bureaucracy so keen on making up pointless laws to criminalise privacy for its citizens, and on inventing ludicrously transparent excuses for doing so?

Surely even the seemingly-gullible US residents can see through this malarkey?

Edited 2010-09-28 13:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Encrypting illegal
by UglyKidBill on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Encrypting illegal"
UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

so, whats your opinion?

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Encrypting illegal
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Sep 2010 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Encrypting illegal"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

so, whats your opinion?


http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/fbi-drive-for-encry...

After a long protracted battle, the security community prevailed after mustering detailed technical studies and research that concluded that national security was actually strengthened by wide use of encryption to secure computers and sensitive business and government communications.


Cryptographers have long argued that backdoors aren't a feature—they are just a security hole that will inevitably be abused by hackers or adversarial governments.


The proposal also contradicts a congressionally-ordered 1996 National Research Council report that found that requiring backdoors was not a sensible policy for the government.


cases of encryption tripping up law enforcement are extremely rare, according the government's own records.


"In this case they are trying to roll back something that already happened and that people are relying on," Blaze said.


I'm with ars technica ... I think that either the US government is horribly and utterly confused by tech (unlikely), or it is simply just plain straight-out lying to its own people.

Edited 2010-09-28 14:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Encrypting illegal
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 28th Sep 2010 15:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Encrypting illegal"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Encryption algorithms are indeed very, very good. You'd have to be a sucker to try and attack their mathematical underpinnings. If you really want to know what someone is doing, you have to put a program between their keyboard and the encryption. Which, is actually pretty easy. If that fails, there is always rubber hose decryption methods that are usually pretty effective.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Encrypting illegal
by vodoomoth on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:11 UTC in reply to "Encrypting illegal"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


These ideas target the exact same area, since those politicans pushing these agendas will realise once that it is not possible to ensure that good encryption can be wiretaped, unless they "control" either the recipient or the sender of the messages. The next step would be to forbid good encryption for all the possible "criminals" and "terrorists", i.e. every citizen and later every non-US company.

Back in 1998 when the SHA-1 algorithm has been declassified, I implemented it in C++ and Borland C++ inline assembler. I had to read some documentation beforehand and IIRC, exporting strong cryptography was illegal in the US. Don't know whether I'm right or whether that still holds, my memories are quite blurred now. Hasn't a certain version (6? 7?) of IE
offered different bit lengths depending on whether it was the US version or the European one?

Let's not forget that more recently, and I'm positive about this, a Middle East country, along with India, expressed concerns about the NSA-approved-for-presidential-use encryption used on Blackberry smartphones IM or chat service. I didn't follow the story more than that, as I just caught it one or two times on CNN iDesk, but either the phone brand is banned or the incriminated service(s) those authorities were angry at were banned.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Encrypting illegal
by dragos.pop on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Encrypting illegal"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

"...exporting strong cryptography was illegal in the US. Don't know whether I'm right or whether that still holds, my memories are quite blurred now. Hasn't a certain version (6? 7?) of IE
offered different bit lengths depending on whether it was the US version or the European one?"


It was modified, now it is much easier to export software with strong encryption.
But anyway the algorithms are public. They can be implemented anywhere in the world (Opera and Firefox had strong encryption long before IE).

Freedom of speech was used to demonstrate that the source code can be exported (no one is allowed to stop me from saying what I want in any form I want, this includes source code in electronic form).

This relaxed the export conditions: see
http://www.bis.doc.gov/encryption/flowchart1.pdf, http://www.bis.doc.gov/encryption/decision_tree.pdf and http://www.bis.doc.gov/encryption/question2.htm
short version: open source and private sector end-users software does is not restricted any more.
Military apps or hardware is still restricted from export.

But anyway if I want to chat on an encrypted channel the US can do nothing, since I can build my own encryption protocol over the existing ones, and the chat provider can do nothing about it. I do have to use my own program though (or something like this: http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Kopete+OTR+Plugin?content=5500...).

Edited 2010-09-28 13:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Encrypting illegal
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 28th Sep 2010 15:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Encrypting illegal"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Trust me, they'd *love* for you to write your won implementation of an existing algorithm. Or even better, try writing your own encryption algorithm. That would make some one at the NSA's day.

In all reality though, no one really wants to read your messages.

Reply Score: 2

We blasted Bush for it and now?
by ArmandoBarreiro on Tue 28th Sep 2010 12:03 UTC
ArmandoBarreiro
Member since:
2010-09-28

We blasted W for the loss of privacy and voted for change, now we beg for change for a cup of joe and continue to have our rights assailed.

We better think twice next time before we vote for "change", it looks as if BHO is nothing but another liar to me.

Armando

Reply Score: 4

RE: We blasted Bush for it and now?
by beowuff on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:28 UTC in reply to "We blasted Bush for it and now?"
beowuff Member since:
2006-07-26

We blasted W for the loss of privacy and voted for change, now we beg for change for a cup of joe and continue to have our rights assailed.

We better think twice next time before we vote for "change", it looks as if BHO is nothing but another liar to me.

Armando


Wow. Way to read the article before positing. Did you notice this?

"...officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications ... to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order."

I see that some officials want CONGRESS to enact this. Where does it mention the President? Where does it say Congress has caved? Where does it say any of this has passed?

I can't tell you how much I love it when people see anything "government" and assume it's the President's fault. No matter who the President is.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I can't tell you how much I love it when people see anything "government" and assume it's the President's fault. No matter who the President is.


US politics confuses me.

It certainly reads to me as though these proposals are coming from the US President's Office:

http://news.discovery.com/tech/internet-wiretap-intelligence.html

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/09/27/privac...

Did I misunderstand something, or did the authors of those website articles (e.g. the New York Times) misunderstand it?

Edited 2010-09-28 13:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: We blasted Bush for it and now?
by re_re on Tue 28th Sep 2010 23:06 UTC in reply to "We blasted Bush for it and now?"
re_re Member since:
2005-07-06

Different parties, different perceived ideals, but all the same crooks. There are very few republicans or democrats in US politics that actually adhere to the ideals they claim to. There are a few good ones, but not many. People need to open their eyes vote these guys out of office while they still can. The indifference of the people caused these problems in the first place, now people are losing their rights and wonder why.

Reply Score: 2

Big government...
by Drunkula on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:02 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

Big government just getting bigger. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Not as easy as they think
by Soulbender on Tue 28th Sep 2010 13:51 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

For starters, are we really surprised? There are already regulation for allowing phones to be wiretappaed and this is just a logical extension of that. It does show a lack of technical understanding that they want to require the ability to "unscramble" encrypted content. This is not in any way practically possible and I'm pretty sure the phone companies aren't required to be able to do that. The "unscrambling" is up to the law enforcement agencies, afaik.
Not that I think that the terrorist that we actually have to worry about is using Facebook or Skype rather than their own secured systems (or systems in more free countries) but hey, what do I know?

However, "wiretapping" the Internet is not as simple as these folk may think it is. Skype, for example, is not an American company and they do not have to comply with American regulations. I guess it could be made illegal for American citizens to download and use Skype though. Then again, illegality isn't really a bother for terrorists, is it.
Even if we presume that they manage to get this kind of regulation in place for, say, Facebook the workaround is simple (although perhaps not practical): use a service that isn't based in the U.S.
There's of course also that little niggle that far from all Internet traffic passes thru the U.S and that U.S law does not really apply to most of "the Internet" at all.

Reply Score: 3

v "Push freedoms and liberty around"
by fran on Tue 28th Sep 2010 14:31 UTC
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I bet that if you were responsible for people safety and security you would sing a different tune.


Not at all. An encryption backdoor is quite similar to a handgun ... it might look like a security feature, but a handgun can point in any direction ... it can be pointed at the innocent citizen just as easily as it can be pointed at the criminal.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/fbi-drive-for-encry...

Cryptographers have long argued that backdoors aren't a feature—they are just a security hole that will inevitably be abused by hackers or adversarial governments.


Also, if you are a law-abiding citizen, your own interest is protected (not jeopardised) by widely-available tamper-proof security:
concluded that national security was actually strengthened by wide use of encryption to secure computers and sensitive business and government communications

cases of encryption tripping up law enforcement are extremely rare, according the government's own records


Edited 2010-09-28 14:43 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Yet
by neticspace on Tue 28th Sep 2010 14:53 UTC
neticspace
Member since:
2009-06-09

South Korea is a presidential democratic country doing internet censorship (direct and indirect) and wiretapping for over 14 years. This is bad.

Reply Score: 2

Benjamin Franklin
by DigitalAxis on Tue 28th Sep 2010 21:10 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

This is the problem with politicians: There aren't very many who, when confronted with power, won't try to get more for themselves. There are other Benjamin Franklins, but they've been steamrolled, ignored, or undone.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Benjamin Franklin
by Zifre on Wed 29th Sep 2010 00:15 UTC in reply to "Benjamin Franklin"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

I think there is a better Benjamin Franklin quote for this situation:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Benjamin Franklin
by dayalsoap on Wed 29th Sep 2010 00:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Benjamin Franklin"
dayalsoap Member since:
2010-05-19

That Ben Franklin quote is made up. There's no record of him ever saying that.

Reply Score: 1

What do you have to hide?
by Phloptical on Tue 28th Sep 2010 22:22 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

....the answer to that question is "Everything."

I love how they make the request for purposes of subpoenas, but didn't our laughable "Patriot Act" make subpoenas for wiretaps irrelevant?

Reply Score: 6

Comment by frood
by frood on Thu 30th Sep 2010 12:49 UTC
frood
Member since:
2005-07-06

This sucks. The only people this will effect are law abiding citizens. Any "terrorists" will use PGP or some custom voip software.

Reply Score: 2