September 13th, 2001

Danger Mouse

The backlash begins, and prepares to take our rights with it.

For years now, the United States government has treated encryption technology as munitions. What does that mean? It basically means that within the country, US citizens are free to make use of essentially unbreakable encryption for their own private communications and use.

Not long ago, the government greatly relaxed encryption export laws, allowing for export of strong encryption with greater ease and fewer restrictions.

Now, we get to deal with idiots in congress who are trying to enact the equivalent of martial law on encryption and require backdoors in all strong encryption. This comes about because bin Laden is supposed a "crypto-aficionado".

What amazes me is how stupid these people must be if they really think a few laws will stop people like bin Laden from using encryption tools. In reality, all it will do is remove our right to privacy and personal security. You see, the US Government can't control anyone outside of it's borders, so the best it can do is require backdoors on encryption developed in the US. That's great an all, if all strong encryption were developed in the US. Unfortunately, it's not true. Even though a great deal of encryption research does happen in the US, and the US produces a larger volume of encryption enabled technology, that doesn't give us a monopoly.

In fact, the recently approved AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), which will be the government recommended encryption algorithm for the next dozen or two years, is an algorithm that was developed outside of the united states, by two Europeans. Hrm, do we detect a slight bit of curiosity, here?

The simple fact is that no matter what politicians do, strong encryption is available, and will remain available, for use by "bad guys". By definition, these people are criminals and thus have already shown their willingness to break the law. By legally restricting encryption, the government hurts only it's own people.
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Danger Mouse

(no subject)

In coming months, politicians will flail about looking for freedoms to eliminate to 'curb the terrorist threat.' They will see an opportunity to grandstand and enhance their careers, an opportunity to show they are 'tough on terrorists'. We must remember throughout that you cannot preserve freedom by eliminating it.
-- Perry Metzger, Wasabi Systems