Friday, March 11, 2016

No, you backoff on backdoors or else

Speaking at #SXSW, President Obama threatened the tech community, telling us to backdoor our encryption ourselves or else congress will mandate a worse solution later.

No, Mr. President, it works the other way around. You'd better backoff on your encryption demands, or else the tech community will revolt, That's what's already happen with Apple's encryption efforts, as well as app developers like Signal and Wickr. Every time you turn the screws, we techies increase the encryption.

It's not a battle you can win without going full police-state. Sure, you can force Apple to backdoor its stuff, but then what about the encrypted apps? You'd have to lock them down as well. But what about encrypted apps developed in foreign countries? What about software I write myself? You aren't going to solve the "going dark" problem until you control all crypto.

If you succeed in achieving your nightmare Orwellian scenario, I promise you this: I'll emigrate to an extradition-free country, to continue the fight against the American government.

Your crypto backdoors creates a police-state beyond what even police-state advocates like Michael Hayden and Linsdey Graham can tolerate. Your point on "balance" is a lie. We've become radically unbalanced toward mass surveillance, and the courts have proven to be toothless to stop it. We techies won't tolerate it. Back off on this, or else.


Kenny said...

The whole "Going Dark" drives me crazy. The period of time where they could collect most communication was very short. It's not "Going Dark", it's returning to normal.

Alex Trebek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Trebek said...

what Obama said
sounds less like a threat and more like foresight
thats why its awesome that this has been brought to the forefront *NOW* thats its irrelevant (2months later, trying to get nfo? cmon FBI), so that if something happens in the future we can say "Hey, we had that attack at X date, we already hashed out the consequences if we try to push something legislative to force companies to subvert their security we're going to tank our IT sector internationally"

James A. Cox said...

I think your comment is overblown. Although I am personally opposed to restrictions on good encryption, I think most of the legitimate software industry would have little choice but to go along with the restrictions if they were passed into law. It's a lot like the DMCA, which also (and incidentally) bars certain kinds of encryption-related software. The legitimate US software industry doesn't produce software that violates the DMCA. It just doesn't. The law is enforced and we don't need a police state to do so. Nobody I know likes the DMCA, but it's also the case that nobody I know moved out of the country to avoid that law. The good point your make is that changing US law isn't likely to actually prevent good encryption software from being available, even in the US, any more than it has done so for software violating the DMCA. Even if it's illegal, lots of people outside the US will make such software, and even in the US there are going to be under-the-radar opportunities to create and distribute such software.

Simon Majou said...

"If you succeed in achieving your nightmare Orwellian scenario, I promise you this: I'll emigrate to an extradition-free country, to continue the fight against the American government."
Come on, you already accepted taxation, gun control, etc.

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