[hcs-d] Government wiretapping

Joe Zimmerman joe at hcs.harvard.edu
Tue Sep 28 13:39:38 EDT 2010


Josh,

So what's a techie to do? Well, I'm not too worried, for a start: the
> forces of money are with the forces of good on this one. And it's
> really easy to oppose this proposal by making it into a jobs issue
> ("Come on, Mr. Congressman. Surely you don't want to hamper American
> innovation, stall foreign investment, and eliminate high-paying
> high-tech jobs, do you?"). But you're fighting the forces of fear
> ("you can't expect criminals to just be able to instantly evade law
> enforcement detection! We've got to protect the public!").
>

(1) You are absolutely right.
(2) Fuck American politics.

Truthily,
-Joe


> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Zak Stone <zstone at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Yes, the concern here is that universal backdoors would allow the
> > government (and hackers who exploit the backdoors) to run universal
> > wiretaps all the time.
> >
> > Zak
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM, EJ Bensing
> > <ebensing at college.harvard.edu> wrote:
> >> As a point to clarify on Byron’s interpretation of the 4th amendment…
> the
> >> courts have basically ruled that anything stored in the cloud (IE.
> Emails,
> >> ect.) don’t require a search warrant to access. They just have to comply
> >> with a law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. This means
> that
> >> if companies were forced to build backdoors in their software, they
> could be
> >> exploited without judicial oversight as long as that act was followed.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> We were actually talking about this today in my seminar (which is on
> laws
> >> relating to the internet)
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Needless to say, this is an incredibly ridiculous and damaging bill. But
> >> congress seems to be a roll lately…
> >>
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/09/censorship-internet-takes-center-stage-online
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> -E.J. Bensing
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> From: hcs-discuss-bounces at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> >> [mailto:hcs-discuss-bounces at lists.hcs.harvard.edu] On Behalf Of Joe
> >> Zimmerman
> >> Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:13 PM
> >> To: Ted Pak
> >> Cc: Carl Jackson; Greg Brockman; hcs-discuss at hcs.harvard.edu
> >> Subject: Re: [hcs-d] Government wiretapping
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 7:02 PM, Ted Pak <tpak at fas.harvard..edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> If this actually happens, and I really doubt it will, it reminds me of
> the
> >> days where the government restricted civilian use of encryption
> technology
> >> so it could keep the military grade stuff for itself.  It was literally
> >> illegal to do encryption above a certain key-length.  I thought we had
> moved
> >> past that.
> >>
> >> From the article:
> >>
> >> "Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must
> >> redesign their service to allow interception."
> >>
> >> I think that's where they're headed.
> >>
> >> -Joe
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Sep 27, 2010, at 9:49 PM, Greg Brockman wrote:
> >>
> >>> 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
> >>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>> hcs-discuss mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>>> hcs-discuss at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> >>>>>>>>>>> https://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/hcs-discuss
> >>>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>> hcs-discuss mailing list
> >>>>>>>>>> hcs-discuss at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> >>>>>>>>>> https://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/hcs-discuss
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>>>>>> hcs-discuss mailing list
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> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
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> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >>
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