back to article Kiss goodbye to privacy forever when brain-implanted comms gear becomes the norm – guru Whit Diffie

Top cryptographers – including Ron Rivest and Adi Shamir, the R and the S in RSA – on Monday played down the impact of AI and quantum computing, shrugged off NFTs, and responded to the development of a mathematical technique that allegedly thwarts today's public key encryption. One of the experts even warned we're a generation …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge

    "you won't be competitive without it"

    So many bad decisions are driven by that fear, real or not, especially if you use a broad definition of competition.

    It certainly impacts personal privacy as we can see not just in a future brain interface but in the present day, with people turning their lives over to Google or Facebook or Apple.

    Beyond privacy, we see it all the time in IT with companies grasping for the next big thing without regard for the consequences. It's why beancounters win with their fears of the next quarter. It's why consultants who say they can tell the future trump in-house experts who understand the present. It's what keeps Gartner, with their Curve and Magic Quadrant, in business.

    And it seems unstoppable.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "you won't be competitive without it"

      Being competitive and/or losing privacy would be the least of everyone's problems.

      What do you do when ransomware is in your head?

      Will there be a place for infosec psychiatry?

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: "you won't be competitive without it"

        Thanks... And now all I can think is...

        You're a nut, you're a loon, you're crazy in the coconut! What does that mean? Tha...tha.tha. that boy needs therapy

        Though it does lead to manchurian candidate scenarios becoming more likely I suppose.

        Also, who would want a proprietary piece of hardware nailed to your brain meats? I'd hate to be that guy who bought last years doodad without the latest feature x that everyone has but it needs the new socket y installing before you can upgrade because you went all early adopter...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "you won't be competitive without it"

        Military (grade|approved) implants?

        Storing certain memories under strong encryption?

        Hijack the pilot rather than the plane?

        Spyware in your brain?

        I see a lot of questions that needs to be answered before adoption for a lot of people. Personally I would love a lot of the abilities that they could potentially give me, but will I trust the security?

        Prediction: people with severe handicaps (e.g. spinal damage) will be first, then the rich.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "you won't be competitive without it"

      At the moment e-mail clients, calendar clients, IM, calls (either POTS or OTT), and meetings all vie for your attention along with other miscellaneous notifications on mobile and computer. Some days when all of that is going off all day are terrible for productivity, is the guy saying all of that happening in your head is going to make you even more competitive?

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: "you won't be competitive without it"

      I'm the one waiting for the Cybermen from Doctor Who to use the implants to convert everyone to robotic perfection!!


    4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      "you won't be competitive without it"


  2. Gary Stewart

    Anybody remember "The Presidents Analyst" and TPC (The Phone Company)?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Upvote for that.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Who remembers the Forbin Project* and doesn't forget Colossi?

    Carmela Troncoso, head of the head of the Security and Privacy Engineering Laboratory at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, also agreed, pointing out that not only was resilience an issue but questioning whether it was possible to build a machine-learning system that was explainable, fair, and privacy preserving as well.

    Does that more than suggest, and who would disagree, that it is certainly possible to build a machine-learning system that was/is unexplainable [for fantastic stealth], unfair [for overwhelming advantage] and privacy busting [for no hidden dirty secrets to bugger up the machine learning].

    Resilience then would not be an issue to worry oneself unnecessarily about.

    And get used to what's on Whitfield Diffie's mind as shared in the four paragraphs under the sub-title, Privacy will be a myth for that boat sailed away ages ago and where it docked on its travels revealed for delivery all manner of exotic wares and erotic fare to trade and free enslaved populations with.

    Whatever happened to Hugo de Garis? He seemed to know what he was talking about, and what we are here also talking about is not greatly dissimilar.

    Hugo de Garis is a retired researcher in the sub-field of artificial intelligence known as evolvable hardware. He became known in the 1990s for his research on the use of genetic algorithms to evolve artificial neural networks using three-dimensional cellular automata inside field programmable gate arrays. ......

    * ....... If of a nervous and/or anxious disposition, beware.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Who remembers the Forbin Project* and doesn't forget Colossi?

      Re that last question ...... Whatever happened to Hugo de Garis? ....... I wouldn't be a bit surprised to discover he now be found helping out South Korea .......

      South Korea has created a “metaverse alliance” of local companies to foster the development of a national virtual and augmented reality platform and sort out the ethics of virtual environments. .......
      ....... for that is surely certainly Artilectual Work ..... and an Explosive Novel Field of Endeavouring and Endearing Perseverance which cannot be denied its prime place in the annals of history rather than thinking it can be regulated and relegated to trading blows in space for Astute Product Placement for leaders/editorial comment in the mainstream media mogul comics of fake news.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be a fool:...

    ...go easy on your EBEs.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Only if ...

    "One of the experts even warned we're a generation away from totally destroying our privacy with brain-connected communications devices."

    Only if they're forcibly implanted. It's (fortunately) much more likely that this will be "opt in" and damned expensive, so only the rich and unthinking will take the option up. Which pretty much predicts the quality of the information retrieved.

    1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

      Re: Only if ...

      That's pretty much how mobile phones started off 30 years ago - show off toys for the rich. And look where we are today with phone ownership and privacy.

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    "I tend to be skeptical and the proof is in the pudding when it comes to factoring – I want to see numbers get factored," Rivest said.

    The generally accepted phrase is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". Of course, some people like to 'Have their cake and eat it' when it should be 'Eat their cake and have it'.

    Rivest is, however, a pretty competent mathematician, and does know great deal about factoring integers, and like him, I'd be interested to see some actual large numbers factored by Schnorr. He certainly knows a lot better than to say, as one of my former 'colleagues' said to me once many years ago: "Hey, have you heard, there's a new way of factoring primes which means DES is broken?" I confess I didn't know where to start in correcting him, so merely carried on with my work.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge


      For what it's worth, whenever I follow the traditional family recipe, the proof is certainly in the pudding as well as in the eating. Also in the white sauce.

  7. StuntMisanthrope

    Another bottle of Navaho please.

    Yes, but there's still something in curving primes around spacetime. #clockworkorange

    1. StuntMisanthrope

      Re: Another bottle of Navaho please.

      בשוק סמייא צווחין לעווירא סגי נהור. There'll be a pub sign above. #scriftain

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