BBCR4 on Crypto-wars today at 13:30

Brian Gladman brg at
Fri Mar 21 00:08:03 GMT 2014

On 20/03/2014 22:46, Peter Fairbrother wrote:

>> 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?
> Suppose you hide the McGuffin. In the old days maybe they would torture
> you for it's location, but in more civilised times they would look for
> it. If they find it you go to jail, if you have hidden it well enough
> that they can't find it you go free.
> Nobody would think it right that someone should be punished, or punished
> more, for trying to hide the McGuffin - that really would be something
> out of 1984.
> Something similar should happen when the McGuffin is data. However under
> RIPA if you use encryption to hide it they still torture you for it - if
> a threat of imprisonment isn't torture, it isn't far away from it.

If you have used the right sort of keys and the right procedures (and
can show that you do this as a matter of routine), they can ask for your
keys but you won't be able to provide them because they no longer exist.

I admit that it is a real pain that we have to use special techniques to
achieve this.

>> 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).
>> [snip]
>>> 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?
> Levinson's keys weren't protecting Levinson's secrets, and more
> particularly they weren't protecting any potential evidence against him
> - they were protecting Snowden's secrets (and those of the rest of L's
> users).
> If they had been, most likely the warrant would not have been issued. If
> it had, it would still be in appeal.

But they were root keys affecting (potentially) all of Levinson's users
- more significantn than those of a single user.  And it would seem that
it is possible to seize such keys in the US.  As far as I can see, this
is not so different to RIPA.  And, of course, the US still induldges in
physical torture if you are an alleged terrorist.


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