back to article US government pushing again on encryption bypass

Just a few weeks after the US government effectively conceded defeat in its efforts to force tech companies to introduce backdoors into their software, the issue is being pulled back onto the table. Both FBI director James Comey and deputy CTO Ed Felten have reopened discussions: Comey stating that tech companies like Apple …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > ... public concern over both has led for calls to limit the degree of privacy afforded all users of mobile phones.

    I don't see any evidence that "public concern" has anything to do with it.

    All these calls are coming from government agencies and the media are jumping all over it to beat the politicians with it on both sides of the debate.

    I don't think the average Joe or Jemima gives a shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think they're hard at work to drum up some "public concern" in this manner to hide the fact that there is actual public concern about the fact that the last few batches of perpetrators were already well known to the various services and agencies out there, yet no prevention took place.

      I can well imagine they urgently need a distraction, but I fear it may not work, certainly not with the whole backdoor crypto idea. That concept is only considered still alive by the utterly clueless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

        They had flagged various pieces of information about these people before, but hadn't put it together because they have flagged so much information about so many people it is impossible to correlate it all or follow up on it all.

        The spy services think "if you just give us access to more stuff, we can prevent incidents" but this demonstrates there is already too much data. They aren't able to drink water fast enough to keep up with a garden hose, so their solution is to replace it with a fire hose.

        1. scrubber

          Re: The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

          "prevent incidents"

          It's not about preventing incidents, although I'm sure many involved think it is. It's about spotting patterns after the fact to create future lists of suspects that can be rounded up as they meet certain criteria that the security services/government of the day deem undesirable. Today it's anyone supporting an Islamic State in the Middle East, tomorrow it's a desire for a republic, the day after it's journalists criticising the government.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

            " ... the day after it's journalists criticising the government"

            This is already happening:

            Police Snooping on Journalists

            1. P. Lee

              Re: The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

              Suicidal terrorists are pretty much impossible to stop. Far worse than people being killed is catching the government with its pants down. Journalists and people like Mitnick and Snowden are the real targets. People who embarrass the government. Finding those people with end to end encryption in place is hard and leaves a huge paper trail of warrants.

        2. DropBear

          Re: The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

          "They had flagged various pieces of information about these people before, but hadn't put it together"

          They have zero interest in "putting everything together" - I mean I'm sure they'd love it to have pre-digested pre-crime warnings but as things are they don't even try; they're not interested in drinking from the garden hose, what they want instead is no faucet to exist that they can't open instantly any time they feel like it...

        3. agatum
          Pint

          Re: The problem was that the data pile was ALREADY too big

          > They aren't able to drink water fast enough to keep up with a garden hose, so their solution is to replace it with a fire hose.

          Best damn analogy _ever_ concerning this matter. Can not stop laughing, so thank you! Have a pint.

      2. a_yank_lurker

        AC - Exactly right. Either the cell is so small as to be very difficult to find and monitor or they are relatively well known. The San Bernardino tragedy was planned and executed by a husband and wife team probably with some help from his family. The only way they would caught the attention of and get the donut-eaters to move would be someone to make a credible enough report. Otherwise the planning was done in person.

        1. Lars Silver badge

          "probably with some help from his family.", Slow down, where did you get that from, perhaps they used encryption within the family and it would have never happened, and so forth. Perhaps they used encryption to get all those guns too.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "backdoor crypto idea"

        Well, it's pretty simple to implement - the Government publishes its public key and whenever you create a symmetric key for bulk data encryption, you have to encrypt it with Big Brother's public key and include it in your network comms or data BLOB.

        Pretty sure that a law would force enough banks and big orgs to implement it. So your cloud data would "not get stored correctly" and your webbrowser would "not experience good network connectivity" if you tried to bypass it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't think the average Joe or Jemima gives a shit.

      All those revenge porn cases show that ordinary people value privacy.

  2. cbars Silver badge

    for goodness sake

    Just, shh!

    Nothing will stop encryption. Cat's out of the bag mate.

    1. Gordon 10
      FAIL

      Re: for goodness sake

      Encryption in general maybe not - a fully encrypted phone is virtually impossible with the manufacturers cooperation.

      The guys at XDAdevs might - just might - be able to maintain android encryption in the face of google dropping it but that's hardly going to help the average joe or iPhone owners.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: for goodness sake

        The guys at XDAdevs might - just might - be able to maintain android encryption

        This is not the encryption you are looking for and not the encryption he is trying to discuss this time.

        This time it is Blackberry, Telegram and the like - end-to-end encrypted services. That is something he can actually negotiate with the valley not to offer. The issue however is, that if the valley does not offer it, someone else will. The valley also cannot do a hell of a lot about weakening it either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: for goodness sake

          iMessage is encrypted end to end, as is WhatsApp. So these big companies are offering this stuff, not just Blackberry and whatever the heck Telegram is.

          If they passed a law that prevented this sort of thing it would be offered via apps from somewhere outside the US. The only question is whether Apple, Google and Facebook would relocate their headquarters so as to continue being the ones offering these apps instead of letting someone else eat their lunch. I hope they would - it would serve morons like Comey right!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: for goodness sake

            "If they passed a law that prevented this sort of thing it would be offered via apps from somewhere outside the US."

            That boat's sailed already. Telegram is from Germany and the owners are Russian, I think, so even if Germany joined in the idiocy they'd just move on somewhere else.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: for goodness sake

              Unless Telegram was designed by the NSA to use subtly flawed encryption and the Russian ownership is just a front to ensnare the terrorists! If it isn't, the CIA should plant rumors to that effect so the terrorists never know for sure what's safe to use.

              Encryption is hard to get right, even mega companies who can afford best in field experts like Google and Apple don't get things exactly right every time. What chance does the loner or tiny company creating the apps the terrorists might use? Maybe the spooks just want to create enough bluster to scare terrorists off iMessage and WhatsApp "just in case" the government is forcing secret back doors on them, knowing that odds are good whatever terrorists end up landing on will be have multiple flaws they can work with. The ones that don't they can FUD out of use by starting rumors it is a CIA front.

              1. Dr. Mouse

                Re: for goodness sake

                Encryption is hard to get right, even mega companies who can afford best in field experts like Google and Apple don't get things exactly right every time.

                There are various open source libraries which provide encryption. You must make correct use of them, and you rely on them being implemented correctly, they generally make it simple to get "right" (for some value of "right").

                If the library is compromised, you are screwed, although this doesn't happen often as is generally fixed quickly (many eyes and all that). Also, if you use it incorrectly (https://xkcd.com/1286/) you have problems. So you obviously need some clue as to what you are doing, but the job is made at least an order of magnitude easier...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: for goodness sake

          "That is something he can actually negotiate with the valley not to offer. "

          BlackBerry is Canadian and Canada have just got rid of their US-alike government. Perhaps owning a BlackBerry will make you an object of suspicion again. Or a Yotaphone.

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    The best reason to fight this is barring the US Gov from reading more traffic will result in fewer drone strikes.

    1. Fungus Bob
      Black Helicopters

      The flaw in your argument is that you assume there is any Logic or Reason involved in the drone strikes.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    They just can't stop themselves, can they?

    They can't keep themselves away from this.

    Despite the complete lack of evidence that encryption was used in this attack-de-jour

    Despite the fact you don't find a needle in a haystack by getting in more haystacks.

    When you keep hearing this same refrain when the logic says it's b**llocks you know it's not something outside the people asking.

    It's something inside their heads.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: They just can't stop themselves, can they?

      It's something inside their heads.

      Bingo. It's the belief, common to all politicians and spy agencies, that anything that happens that they're not able to snoop represents a threat. It's the Total Information Awareness concept (remember that?), writ large. Why, if we can only see and intercept absolutely everything, then we can stop all crime/terror/radicalism/wrongthinking!

      Fundamentally, they don't trust people. The assumption is that people, left to their own devices, will do bad stuff.

      And so they continue with their pervasive snooping. At the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hatter - treasure the privacy of your own thoughts, while you can.

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: They just can't stop themselves, can they?

        > The assumption is that people, left to their own devices, will do bad stuff.

        And - for emphasis - the people who do the most, and the worst, bad stuff are governement agencies.

      2. fajensen
        Big Brother

        Re: They just can't stop themselves, can they?

        The assumption is that people, left to their own devices, will do bad stuff.

        Bad people make Bad Assumptions - reason is: I cannot read thoughts so if I want to guess* what the other person is up to, I am really thinking "What would I do with this?", so, if one happens to be a thieving, lying, authoritarian piece of shit - which would drone your one's mother for the life insurance - Of Course Everyone Else is up to the same Shit - If we don't get them first!

        It's a mirror; politicians and security people think they see us, but they only see a reflection of themselves!

        *) The other way is to observe what the other person in fact does - hypothesis based on evidence and stuff, how old.

    2. ma1010
      Facepalm

      Re: They just can't stop themselves, can they?

      @John Smith 19

      Right! Have an upvote. Except instead of "It's something inside their heads," I'd say "It's something missing from inside their heads." Like intelligence enough to understand anything about encryption.

      The media and politicians are talking out their collective asses.

      This comes from the usual "DO SOMETHING!" attitude when something bad happens. Everyone screams at the government to "DO SOMETHING" to fix it. But nobody in or out of government actually knows HOW to fix all the problems. Hence all this "crypto backdoor" and other crap in government. They do it because, to those without understanding of the issues, which means 90+% of the population, it gives the appearance that they are actually DOING SOMETHING to fix the world's problems. That's why you hear the same, tired crap over and over in the same pointless debates that occur every time something bad happens.

      "Outlaw this! Mandate that! And then everything will be set right in 3 easy steps! Right?

      Bollocks!

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: They just can't stop themselves, can they?

        There's also the alternative, everyone is screaming "DO SOMETHING!" at the government so the government, knowing they can't actually do much which will show results quickly, turns to an easy scape goat to pin the blame on. "We can't do anything if they encrypt things! It's their fault really!" etc

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I made a comment on the whitehouse.gov petition website.

    Just a simple statement that any government-mandated backdoor would immediately become the holy grail for hackers, organized crime and terrorists.

    1. fajensen

      Re: I made a comment on the whitehouse.gov petition website.

      You do realise that is pretty much "Government", such as it is, these days?

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      any government-mandated backdoor would immediately become the holy grail for hackers,

      Correct.

      Why spend time and money hoping to find a loophole when you know one already exists?

      It will be the target for everyone and by mandate it can't be removed.

  6. lafnlab
    Thumb Down

    Encryption with a backdoor is about as useful as a canoe with a hole in the bottom.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Very useful if you are a shark. Especially an official one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is there a way to let an official government shark into your boat without risk of allowing in an unvetted terrorist shark by the same means?

        1. a_yank_lurker
    2. Vector

      But they need that hole to drain all the water out!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is rather an easy solution.

    For the more Management-oriented, you could even think of it as a SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) solution, i.e. the holy grail of targets.

    We, the technical community, should agree to adapt our products to suit a solution they provide, within one month of it being found to meet criteria we will set.

    To start with:

    * It must be possible to decrypt the data in a timely fashion (i.e. without brute-forcing it) at a properly warranted request of a Government agency.

    * End-to-end encryption must remain possible

    * It can be proven that it is impossible to copy or otherwise disseminate the data once decrypted

    * Warrants can be proven to be legal in both the localities where they were created and where they are effected

    * Warrants applied to the data can be audited

    * Data outwith the warrant should be utterly impossible to decrypt without obtaining a further warrant

    * Foreign governments should be able to decrypt the data with a common warrant structure.

    * The breadth and rate of warrants should be limited for a certain dataset to prevent the government simply warranting all of it everywhere and decrypting the lot

    * It must be possible to highlight when data has been decrypted/viewed and what data was encrypted/viewed

    * All of the above must be part of the encryption algorithm itself; these controls cannot be baked into an application, they have to be part of the mathematical theorem that forms the basis of the encryption algorithm, and any removal of these safeguards should change the output so that there can be no other method of decryption

    * It must not bias towards one country or region

    * It must not rely on stored (or even known) keys

    * It must not work any slower than current algorithms

    * It must be implemented so that if it is ever broken the people pushing for it at the moment (individuals as well as agencies) are imprisoned and/or face execution (depending on jurisdictional maximum sentences).

    * Research efforts towards this must be funded lavishly

    And some representatives of the tech industry should be held to this in a court of law. And shortly after unicorn/pig hybrids fly over a frozen Hell the security services figure out how to meet these criteria and we can start worrying about how to implement it.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Meh

      Re: There is rather an easy solution.

      So, basically, you're talking about (another) massive Pork Barrel...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is rather an easy solution.

        Now we see why it is being talked about. Some big government contractor like MITRE or Raytheon will get a huge contract to develop this solution, and after multiple extensions and huge cost overruns they'll say "it can't be done". But not before the sponsoring legislators retire from Congress and get cushy board jobs paying $500K for 10 hours of work a month.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: There is rather an easy solution.

          @DougS. Your solution is actually quite good, good enough for me anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is rather an easy solution.

        (original AC) Yep, absolutely. 100% correct. Get the government to keep chucking money at Crypto, get them to keep pushing for this utterly unattainable Holy Grail. Someone mentioned nuclear launch codes below- this (and banking data etc) should be the grade of information we could distribute freely with this encryption, happy that the government(s) can decrypt it but no-one else can by the time they're done

        That way, we have Raytheon, Lockheed, Boeing, a bunch of universities, and many others- all of them pushing to continue the hunt. To make the 'perfect' crypto. And much like warfare, they'll keep it going and going and going, constantly allllllllllllmost managing the perfect crypto- enough to warrant keeping the research funded but not enough to end the project and their funding.

        And of course every nation should push for it, so those companies get paid multiple times for the same work.

        When someone does end funding, they'll have half the world's defence industry declaring that government 'terrorist sympathisers', and then the funding will restart. So the Governments of the world are seen as doing something AND gets the support of the technical community for doing The Right Thing, we get stacks of lobbyists on our side for once helping to ensure we never have to do anything because the contractors will never actually produce a product.

        In the meantime, it goes without saying that we continue using the strongest crypto possible so as to protect our personal and corporate data from terrorists, paedophiles and other undesirables.

    2. Mark 85

      Re: There is rather an easy solution.

      Warrants? Legal speak it all you want. It still boils down to either they encryption is secure or it's insecure. If it's insecure, I don't want it.

      Backdoored or weak encryption is useless in the real world. It leave everyone open to Identity Theft, Band Fraud, and CC Fraud. And that's at a minimum. Those threats are more prevalent than a terrorist attack. Take out the miscreants who engage in this activity and when there's no more of this happening, we'll re-think encryption.

      You're proposals sound like they came out of Feinstein's mouth. "Pass a law and no one will every break it. Use a warrant and only we can get the information." Bullshit. Look into the tech and the maths of encryption.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Whenever this issue comes back to the table

    ... by law, 1% of high-ranking officials from the military/security/policing complex should be randomly executed. All names would be on the table. No Exceptions.

    That would chill the mofos out good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whenever this issue comes back to the table

      Does it have to be only 1%?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whenever this issue comes back to the table

        Does it have to be only 1%?

        It would be a start. Maybe we could have them executed in the North Korean style with flamethrowers, antiaircraft guns and the like, whilst the other TLA donut eaters are forced to watch.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not possible. Repetition will not make it possible. Go fuck yourselves. Now go away because you're boring us. And by merely stating your position you're making yourselves look like fucking idiots.

  10. Graham Marsden
    Devil

    Do they remind you of spoiled kids...?

    "Can we have this?"

    "No."

    "Can we have this?"

    "No."

    "Can we have this?"

    "No."

    "Can we have this?"

    "No."

    Repeat ad nauseum...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Spot on.

      The only problem is that this kid is the equivalent of a multi-billionaire that does not understand the word "no".

      And he has Asperger, so whenever he hears no he thinks 'ask again".

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    An Idea

    Produce something like the committee designed horse (a camel) but specifically for the stock market - a well known source of shady financing.

  12. Zarno

    Hm...

    I wonder if they'd give Russia a copy of the nuclear arsenal launch codes that are in the presidential football, encrypted with the "US Government only backdoor" encryption, but not the encryption keys?

    After all, only the US could EVER unlock that backdoor...

  13. DCLXV

    Good grief

    Since the FBI seems to be hard of hearing I propose the nerds give them what they really want: full root access to everything. Just um, gracefully avoid mentioning the chroot environment limiting the scope of their access.

  14. Christoph

    It's perfectly simple

    Indiana showed the way to sort this a long time ago, but chickened out. If the mathematics makes it impossible to do what you want, just pass a law changing the mathematics. If you make Pi equal to three, the equations get much simpler.

    Can someone suggest this to the Republicans? I'm sure at least some of their presidential candidates will be eager to endorse it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HUMMMMMM.... so nothing to do with having Guns everywhere?

    OK so its ALL about Encryption nothing about the fact that Guns in the USA are easier to find than a Bus load of radicalised Jihaddis in Raqqah.

    I would agree to a backdoor to the data when.

    1) the government can be trusted. (any country who will have access to the data)

    2) the number of Guns in the USA is less than the number of guns in Shetland.

    3) someone tells us who shot JFK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HUMMMMMM.... so nothing to do with having Guns everywhere?

      Get rid of the legal guns in france while we are at it...oh wait. 300+million guns did nothing yesterday... how about we blame the coward terrorist and other people responsible for their own actions.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Sure, drag France into the debate.

        Remind me how many school shootings have taken place in France ?

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: HUMMMMMM.... so nothing to do with having Guns everywhere?

      Why do you think he was shot at all. Damn it, it took me some time to add "at all".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HUMMMMMM.... so nothing to do with having Guns everywhere?

      Also remember part of the reason the people in the US want guns is a govt that can't be trusted.

  16. Youngone Silver badge

    PGP Anyone?

    I seem to remember there was a time when it was illegal to export PGP outside of the US (FFS!).

    Didn't stop it happening though.

    I can't see laws in the US preventing anyone from using non back doored encryption if they wish.

    1. Fitz_

      Re: PGP Anyone?

      PGP (along with any strong encryption) is also classified as a munition.

      I do find myself wondering how interesting it would be to promote that fact to the NRA and gun lobbies and watch the whole argument turn into a 2nd amendment 'dun tak mah guns' issue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PGP Anyone?

        I'm well aware of the relevance of the Second Amendment to encryption and to the core issue of trust in governments. I believe that Jefferson and others would readily agree. Their is also being secure in one's papers and effects which definitely has extreme relevance though and Comey and Company haven't addressed.

        Which nation's warrants applied to which devices where Mr. Comey?

        Probably hopes no other nation, save perhaps 5-Eyes will demand, and receive, such access.

  17. Huns n Hoses

    I like to think it would not be practical to legislate into being some kind of 'private key register', and require CAs to obtain both public and private keys to issue certs, and manufacturers to lodge their software signers for safekeeping, records, or whatever makes it sound nice.

    This is totally non-tech but would need to be applied globally to work. It could see some unlikely bed partners. I'm not sure if I should be worried.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It would be the most valuable dataset that could ever exist

      So all criminal and terrorist organisations, and all "rogue" states will immediately try to get hold of that register.

      Once any of them do, every related encryption is broken, forever and ever, past and future.

      It would be the literal end of the Internet and mobile telephony.

      And they will definitely get hold of it eventually. Some of these are people who would be willing to torture a keyholder to death in order to get access to this type of register.

      That is why it is a fundamentally stupid idea.

  18. MrDamage Silver badge
    Holmes

    TPP to the rescue?

    For all it's faults, that little clause in the TPP allowing foreign companies to sue the government for passing laws which impacts their bottom line looks like it might actually be useful in this case.

    Blackberry, being Canadian, could be the first off the block with their sueball if this goes ahead. The perhaps Apple and Google's Irish tax havens could follow suit, once the appropriate paperwork shuffle to make them the acting Glabal HQ of said companies gets pushed through.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Nurse...

    ...they're out of bed again.

  20. CommanderGalaxian
    Flame

    Post proof or STFU

    "...public concern over both has led for calls to limit the degree of privacy afforded all users of mobile phones."

    No. Seriously. WTF? Please post proof of this. Who's really behind your pay cheque?

    1. noj

      Re: Post proof or STFU

      Maybe the same folks that brought you WMD, PBSuccess in Guatemala overthrew the democratically elected leader of Guatemala Jacob Arbenz and installed right wing military dictators , overthrew Goulart in Brazil and installed General Branco in Chile and even trained his death squads, smuggled Klaus Barbie out of Europe, armed Saddam Hussein...

      And that's just the short list.

  21. goldcd

    Would you give the government keys to your home?

    Make it mandatory, or allow them to break down any door they couldn't open?

  22. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    If I have nothing to hide,

    Surely the government has nothing to fear.

    So it doesn't matter to them that I hide it anyway.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back door what back door?

    I think we should give the NSA FBI and everybody who wants it the backdoors they can't live without. BUT we also pay All FBI/NSA etc staff digitally and publish their bank accounts details, Pension account details, phone numbers etc. After all they are still secure right? no one who is from the dark side is going to find those back doors so their money will be safe right?

  24. qzdave

    Phones don't kill people- guns kill people

    It's sad and terrifying that there are 4 mass shootings every day in the USA . That's every bloody day. And the FBI wants to read text messages. No word on addressing the fact that the latest shooters had assault weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo.

  25. Seajay#
    Unhappy

    This could happen

    The scary thing isn't how poorly elements of the US government understand technology. The scary thing is that this could really happen. You would imagine that they couldn't legislate holes in encryption and that they can't legislate on stuff that happens outside of the US but you'd be wrong. Look at the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, look at the ongoing efforts to extract data from Irish datacentres without Irish judicial review.

    Spending $1Trilllion on your millitary earns you the ability (not the right but who cares about that) to tell international law and common sense to take a running jump.

    You can easily imagine a law which says that no US company can offer end-to-end encryption without at backdoor, on pain of massive fines and criminal liability for the bosses. It's not difficult to imagine them exending that to any company which does business in the US (defined as having a website reachable from there), enforced by either fining the hell out of any subsidiary of that foreign company in the US or by fining any financial institution which deals with the troublemaker and has an office in the US or by fining any CSP which connects to the troublemaker.

    Sure GPG will still exist but you can go after the keyservers and you can require email relays to pass the NSA the metadata of any encrypted email. Basically you can make it bloody awkward to use (and it's hard enough already). That doesn't eliminate encryption entirely but it narrows your haystack down from 1 Billion Whatsapp users to 100k crypto nerds, 1k civil liberties campaigners and 2 terrorists.

  26. David Kelly 2

    Reading Minds

    Be sure to tune in next week when government demands a court order for mind reading. Its so inconvenient to Government's Good Works for God to have encrypted the human brain so that thoughts are beyond the access of a court order. Clearly Google and Apple could/should fix this oversight!

  27. swm
    Mushroom

    Ban Crosscut Shredders

    Many incriminating documents are on paper and can easily be destroyed with a crosscut shredder. Actually it would be better to ban paper. Or require all records on stone tablets.

    I used to buy flash paper for magic tricks but the bookies used it for keeping track of their bets and dropped a cigarette into the pile of slips when raided. Poof! goes the evidence so now you have to make it yourself or pay a lot.

    (Icon of flash paper.)

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The Clipper Chip reborn?

    Stupid idea back in the 90's.

    Still dumb as a stump today.

  29. noj

    rather than argue a fool's argument...

    Why don't they just admit they really don't know what to do?

    Subverting or banning encryption will do nothing - the "good guys" will be more at risk while the "bad guys" will find another way. It backfired thus far, producing damage to the US in numerous well-publicized ways, and will continue to backfire if pressed.

    Rather than keep speaking the same trash and trying to push a "solution" they really know won't work, why not work together with industry leaders to come up with a better one?

  30. Mike 16

    Ed who?

    At first I assumed there were two people named Ed Felten and concerned with security. But it appears that Ed Felten, of Freedom to Tinker et al. is also the Ed Felten mentioned in this article.

    What next, Benjamin Netanyahu declaring support for ISIS?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ed who?

      Yes, it's really disappointing to see Felten - an important IT security researcher who's done great work tearing apart stupidly insecure voting machines, among other things - supporting this bullshit.

      Though I do agree that there's an important conversation to be had here. It goes like this:

      Spooks and other surveillance-monkeys: "Hey, let us undermine your encryption. It's for Your Own Good."

      Citizens: "No."

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like