[hcs-d] Government wiretapping

Greg Brockman gdb at MIT.EDU
Mon Sep 27 21:49:26 EDT 2010


Wait, as I understand the proposed law, it's not about trying to get
around legal process.  Rather, it's about making sure that when the
government gets a warrant for a Skype phone call, Skype has the
technical ability to decrypt said phone call and give it to the
government.  The government itself will not gain that ability and will
still have to go through exactly the same protocols they do now.

Greg



On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 9:35 PM, Joe Zimmerman <joe at hcs.harvard.edu> wrote:
>
>> While I'm no lawyer, it seems unlikely that any such mandate would hold up
>> in court.
>
> I'm not sure about that. Courts have done some pretty crazy things in the
> past (e.g., letting the DMCA stand).
>
>>
>> Plus, to access said encrypted data, the government would still
>> technically need a warrant. The 4th amendment prohibits the government from
>> accessing the information without a search warrant, so any charges they
>> tried to bring against people based on evidence obtained without a warrant
>> would be thrown out before you can say "constitutional rights".
>>
>> And remember that the 5th amendment means that people have the right to
>> confront the evidence against them -- in particular the witnesses against
>> them -- making any charges doubly difficult for the government...
>
> Assuming the cases went to trial, as opposed to the people just
> disappearing. Or, what is probably more common, the information gathered
> being used extralegally to blackmail or frame people for other things.
>
>>
>> It's not to say that I approve of this policy. Honestly, why the
>> intelligence community goes to such lengths to avoid appropriate legal
>> processes (such as search warrants) boggles the mind. Particularly when
>> there are special courts set up specifically for the purpose of issuing
>> warrants for sensitive investigations.
>>
>
> See above, in part. Although, it occurs to me that the government has an
> interesting angle here: right now, so much data on the Internet is encrypted
> that the feds don't know what to look for. Most of this is due to traffic
> over SSL, destined for servers that have a physical and legal presence and
> whose owners can be held accountable to the proposed new law. If all of this
> traffic effectively became cleartext (on account of the backdoor), it would
> become much more feasible to look for encrypted transmissions (any
> whatsoever) as a sign of suspicious activity.
>
> -Joe
>
>
>
>>
>> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 20:05, Zak Stone <zstone at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> I imagine most businesses will vehemently oppose the legislation:
>>>
>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/business/global/28secure.html
>>>
>>> Zak
>>>
>>>
>>> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 5:37 PM, Zak Stone <zstone at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> > It may be time to lobby Congress, folks, especially if there are plans
>>> > to somehow prohibit individuals from using strong encryption
>>> > technology. This legislation hasn't passed yet.
>>> >
>>> > Zak
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM, Joe Zimmerman <joe at hcs.harvard.edu>
>>> > wrote:
>>> >> Not to mention the entirety of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
>>> >>
>>> >> -Joe
>>> >>
>>> >> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM, Siddarth Chandrasekaran
>>> >> <chandrasekaran.siddarth at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> >>>
>>> >>> Frighteningly relevant:
>>> >>>
>>> >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DRAD-j8ObI
>>> >>> "There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect
>>> >>> even
>>> >>> now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will
>>> >>> soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in
>>> >>> lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words
>>> >>> offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the
>>> >>> enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly
>>> >>> wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice,
>>> >>> intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to
>>> >>> object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and
>>> >>> systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your
>>> >>> submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame?"
>>> >>>
>>> >>> Siddarth
>>> >>>
>>> >>>
>>> >>>
>>> >>> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM, Jim Danz <danz at fas.harvard.edu>
>>> >>> wrote:
>>> >>> > What?  That's never happened to me on NYT and I'm definitely not a
>>> >>> > member.
>>> >>> >
>>> >>> > On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 4:35 PM, Carl Jackson <carl at avtok.com>
>>> >>> > wrote:
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> http://imgur.com/tyiT0
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> In other news, this is really really unfortunate. I'll probably
>>> >>> >> say
>>> >>> >> more
>>> >>> >> angry words when I figure out how to read the article :P
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> Carl
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> On Sep 27, 2010, at 4:30 PM, Greg Brockman wrote:
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> > Looks like the government is considering mandating communication
>>> >>> >> > service providers to put backdoors in their softwares' crypto:
>>> >>> >> > http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/27wiretap.html?_r=1
>>> >>> >> >
>>> >>> >> > Any thoughts?
>>> >>> >> >
>>> >>> >> > Best,
>>> >>> >> >
>>> >>> >> > Greg
>>> >>> >> > _______________________________________________
>>> >>> >> > hcs-discuss mailing list
>>> >>> >> > hcs-discuss at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
>>> >>> >> > https://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/hcs-discuss
>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >> _______________________________________________
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>>> >>> >>
>>> >>> >
>>> >>> >
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>>
>
>


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