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<nettime> ***SPAM*** Re: What should GCHQ do?
morlockelloi on Mon, 25 May 2015 21:02:03 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> ***SPAM*** Re: What should GCHQ do?


I think that there are two distinct issues here conflated together, both 
of them already mentioned in the comments:

1. Technology

Like literacy, or ship's voice pipes, Internet and crypto are 
technologies. They are presented in end-user contraptions called 
computers (as literacy is presented on the contraption called paper.) 
These technologies can carry and replicate communication, in ways 
invisible to the speaker (couriers, postal service, photocopiers, voice 
pipes, fiber, switches) to some end recipients one may not see or eve 
know about.

2. Public/private

There was a huge difference between public in private before these 
technologies existed. Private was something you communicated to one or 
few individuals that could hear you, public was something you shouted at 
the gathering to all. Today you whisper and shout into the same 
contraption, and this is totally non-intuitive. Is that voice pipe 
ending in the machine room, ship's mess, or captain's bedroom?

The only way to re-establish the intuitive concept of public/private is, 
again, to use technology, in this case cryptography. Like literacy, not 
everyone will be able to effectively do that, but many will (though 
likely fewer than in the case of literacy.)

There is really no choice - technologies are here to stay. If you don't 
want to learn to read and write, and must rely and trust scribes, you 
shall be f*cked. Same thing with crypto. Stop wasting time begging 
governments to stop listening - it's stupid and silly, at the same time. 
Instead, become literate, or join the ranks of the f*cked. It's called 
civilization.

A side technical note on:

> known-crypto approach, state actors -- being *state* actors -- will just
> revalue the currency, as it were, by switching over to more flexible,
> exploratory systems. The 'increase the cost' argument may be one of the
> few things less durable than motives.

There are no known automated ways to efficiently decipher 
human-generated scramblings of any quality. That strategy raises the bar 
in the sense that it requires similar (if not greater) expenditure of 
wetware brain cycles to de-scramble, than to scramble. Narrowing the 
context to individual correspondent pairs, the context not shared with 
any other pair, makes the de-scrambling expensive. Just as example, the 
two can pick a book or mp3 song and then communicate by using page and 
word (byte) numbers. Today this can be electronically done very 
smoothly. The common mistake made here is that such naive pad 
implementation is easy to break, much easier than, say, breaking 256-bit 
ChaCha20-Poly1305. That's very true, but it has to be broken *per* 
correspondent pair, not once for all. If it takes only one minute to try 
petabytes of all known mp3s, do frequency analysis, guess the language, 
and, assuming that it was simple XOR (without doing ROT-13 first), 
retrieve the plaintext, it makes mass surveillance dead in the water. 
They don't have that minute to spend.


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