[hcs-d] Government wiretapping

Greg Price gprice at post.harvard.edu
Tue Sep 28 14:08:59 EDT 2010

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the detailed summary on this.

On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 09:19, Joshua Kroll <kroll at cs.princeton.edu> wrote:
> So that's always tough. Still, it's better to make the discussion one
> about the balance we as a society are willing to make between the
> powers of law enforcement, the protection of civil liberties, and the
> freedom of business to innovate. Making the discussion about the
> technical risk of putting back doors in your secure systems puts you
> in the technologist's usual position of being 100% right and 100%
> guaranteed to lose the argument. Making the argument about how
> protocol designers and cryptographers will comply just takes the
> discussion into an esoteric world that doesn't really have a lot to do
> with the policy proposal in question (since it would apply to
> /providers of services/ and not to /technologies/).

I have to disagree with you here.  The technical conversation is
essential -- the 'jobs' argument or 'innovation' argument is empty if
it isn't backed by the reality of what the impact would be on the
technology that drives that innovation and provides those jobs.  And
this is a technical forum, not the letters page of the NYT or a policy
brief for lawmakers' desks -- it's exactly the kind of place where
that kind of technical conversation has a home.  So I don't think
anyone should be shamed for carrying on that conversation.

You're right that different, parallel conversations also need to be
carried on for the general public and in Washington, and it's fun to
engage in those here too.  I'm hoping that, as you say, with the
forces of money on the right side we'll win this one.


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