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Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 26, 2013 5:39 UTC (Fri) by zooko (guest, #2589)
In reply to: Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET) by kragil
Parent article: Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

I think it is naive to believe that things are any different in Germany, or France, or the U.K., or China, or …


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Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 29, 2013 11:18 UTC (Mon) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167) [Link]

Indeed. The choice isn't whether to permit "domestic" spying, but only whether to authorise and pay for spies at all. If you have spooks (and all the countries you listed do) then they will spy on your citizens because that's what they do. Indeed if they did NOT spy on your citizens you're wasting your money, the bad guys you were presumably hoping they'd find can conduct their business in plain sight of the spooks, protected by an arbitrary legal convention.

In reality, with so many powerful nations paying for spooks the choice is starker. You must pay for your own spooks, or accept a disadvantage for taking the moral high ground as others continue to spy on you. They'll be Merchants of Light stealing industrial secrets and manipulating your people, not James Bond types jumping off exploding boats but they will make you pay dearly for your smug openness. This (abolishing spooks) has been tried before without much success, but I welcome anyone who wants to attempt it again.

So, you will have spooks, and the spooks will do everything in their power to spy on everyone in the world. But this is /not/ the knock at the door of a totalitarian state. It wasn't ubiquitous surveillance that made the Stasi what they were, it was Zersetzung - psychological harassment. A ban on "domestic" spying by the NSA was perhaps well meaning but ultimately unenforceable, but ensuring our governments don't practice Zersetzung is entirely practical. If in a year's time Americans believe the spooks have magically stopped spying on them and they go back to sleep, we have achieved nothing. But if they instead accept that they've hired people to spy on them and now must behave accordingly, we might have some progress.

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 29, 2013 13:18 UTC (Mon) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

While I agree with most of your point, the legal structure we set up in the US was that we had internal "policing" and externally-facing spooks.

The "policing" and by that I mean the FBI were obviously partly spooks too but with a slightly different charter.

That both wings quickly dispensed with their charters and did what they felt like i think speaks volumes. The right thing to do is to have such groups, but limited in scope, on a short leash, and not periodically given any greater leeway.


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