BBCR4 on Crypto-wars today at 13:30

Brian Gladman brg at
Mon Mar 17 19:52:11 GMT 2014

On 17/03/2014 15:52, Peter Fairbrother wrote:
> Hi Caspar,
> There are many omissions and over-simplifications, but at 4.41 
> @gordoncorera says:
> "The Levinson case goes to the heart of a fundamental clash between
> two opposing sides - there are those who want our electronic
> communications to be entirely private, so that absolutely no-one
> apart from the recipient can know what's benig said. Set against
> them are those who think the State should be able to get access,
> for instance when it says it's investigating crime or protecting
> national security.
> I think that's it in a nutshell - and on that basis, with the
> demands for keys in RIPA we lost the crypto wars in the UK.

Hi Peter,

I don't see RIPA as having the significance you attach to it in the
context of the Crypto Wars.  Various means of State sponsored coercion
to force people to reveal their secrets have been in existence for a
few thousand years prior to the Crypto Wars so why would adding one
more be such a big deal?

In my view the Crypto Wars were primarily about removing the controls
that the US, the UK and some other governments were seeking to
maintain on cryptographic and related technologies.

There were no doubt some who thought that this was about 'privacy for
the masses' but those with more real world experience knew only too
well that winning the Crypto Wars was only the first of several wars
that would have to be won if this was ever going to be achieved (and
the subsequent wars would be a _lot_ harder to win).

> It's a little harder to use crypto effectively in the UK because of
> the key demands in RIPA Part 2 - but only a little, you don't have
> to be any kind of nerd, eg truecrypt seems to do that job OK if
> used properly.

There is surely little if any real difference - Levinson's keys were
seized in the US under US law so how does RIPA make things harder here?

I do, of course, agree that it is a real shame that the BBC programme
failed to even mention what was going on here in the UK. Especially so
given that this list was an intrinsic part of our Crypto Wars.


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