Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strong Encryption

Another facet of these themes is to protect yourself by technical means. Keeping tabs on false-positive rates is maybe moot or irrelevant if you, as an individual, can say, I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen to me. (I'm writing dialogue here - it's not necessarily my own belief.) Assume the worst, watch your own back.

The Skokie problem comes to mind. If you go to encryption, you have loosely speaking a similar pattern to bad people doing illegal things, but that doesn't mean you are also a bad person doing illegal things - but you can be slapped with guilt by association. And yes, then I feel caught in a foursquare of ambiguity, because there will also be disingenuous bad people who disingenuously use an EFF, pro-privacy stance, claiming that they are in favor of privacy because privacy is privacy. But at the end of the day (I'm not going to know what's going on inside their HTTPS, by definition), some of them might actually be sneakily taking advantage. It's a terrible situation how many layers and flops of disingenuity and ambiguity you can go. It's unfair to use guilt by association - just because person A is using Tor to avoid getting caught breaking the law doesn't mean person B is using Tor to do that - but it is also harmful if, in the actual execution of what goes on inside the key entanglement, they're claiming "it's private! Get off my back!", in other words, marching with the 4th Amendment people and then taking advantage of the freedom to put a cloak over their counterfeiting or gun-running or something. I don't like either option. I even wonder about common carrier. How can these freedoms survive black swan? The technically-savvy alternative says, obviously they can't and they won't, which is why you have to assume you are tapped and shield yourself on a case-by-case basis.

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