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Congress Considers Mandatory Crypto Backdoors

Hemos posted about 13 years ago | from the the-encryption-wars-begin dept.

Encryption 1105

disappear writes: "Wired news reports that Congress is considering restrictions on crypto software in the wake of the terrorist attack. 'Nuff said." This will be the next battle -- especially in the wake of this week's tragedies, and the the allegations that the prime suspect Osama Bin Laden is a heavy crypto user. The battle of privacy and safety is going to begin in earnest now.

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Katy! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296068)

Katy, I love you!

frp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296070)

first remembrance post! we will not lose our civil liberties or bin laden has won!

Re:frp (3, Insightful)

dcviper (251826) | about 13 years ago | (#2296140)

Yeah, your right, This country was founded with the principles of freedom. To take away our Civil Liberties simply to hunt down a terrorist demeans us down to his level. And who's to say that, once lost our civil liberties will be regained? AOL has already sold out it's myriad of moron customers by handing over e-mail records, and i doubt there was a subpoena issuesd for those records.


Re:frp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296162)

this is NOT the article moderators...

Mixed feelings (2)

Gangis (310282) | about 13 years ago | (#2296071)

I have mixed feelings about this... It could be good in catching terrorists, but privacy avodocates will have a field day. What do you think?

I think I speak for slashdot when I say (5, Insightful)

Mdog (25508) | about 13 years ago | (#2296096)

Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Insightful)

napir (20855) | about 13 years ago | (#2296098)

Crypto algorithms are well-documented and not difficult to implement. Circumventing backdoors would be as simple as writing your own software, or use an older version of open source software such as GPG that doesn't support government-known backdoors. Sure, it'd be illegal in the U.S., but is that going to stop terrorists? All this will do is make it difficult for law-abiding corporations and individuals to keep data secure.

Re:Mixed feelings (3, Insightful)

Ivan the Terrible (115742) | about 13 years ago | (#2296129)

I can't see that any terrorist with a quarter of a brain will use a crypto scheme with a backdoor. So, the only people who can be spied upon are those who are law-abiding, and the only people who can't are law-breakers.

4th post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296078)

Nuff said.

People will hand it over (4, Insightful)

purduephotog (218304) | about 13 years ago | (#2296084)

without much fight. All the right words will be said for fear and fright

And if you fight against it you will probably lose... unfortunately. Maybe in a year. Or two. But the mood of the American people is quite frightening- cold rage.

Besides- who says the government CAN"T break them already? It probably just takes a bit more effort...

Re:People will hand it over (5, Insightful)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | about 13 years ago | (#2296172)

"Besides- who says the government CAN"T break them already?"

The fact that they're passing legislation to add mandatory backdoors is a pretty big clue that they probably can't break some crypto already. A known backdoor significantly decreases confidence in a crypto-system and will cause the bad guys to be more vague and/or use the uncrackable but less convenient "one time pad".

Re:People will hand it over (1)

dachshund (300733) | about 13 years ago | (#2296250)

A known backdoor significantly decreases confidence in a crypto-system and will cause the bad guys to be more vague and/or use the uncrackable but less convenient "one time pad".

Why use one-time-pads when they can just go on using the algorithms that're out there? As others on this thread have said, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Of course, preventing the development of more sophisticated systems will be a long-term goal (but don't expect it to be effective for many years.)

Look for steganography to become popular among terrorists.

Maybe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296189)

but I doubt the gov can crack them, but if they gave us the addresses or info on the systems that house terrorists, heh, well we could give them a go no?

Fortunately.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296091)

...this is a moot point. This is a/c so you can mod me up. Some child can look up the reference, but you all remember the strong-crypto-using mafioso who complained that his LAPTOP got bugged without a wiretap permit. We got lots of linkage to tiny devices that intercept keystrokes. Who cares if you allow a computer to do something mathematically one-way or mathematically back-doorless? To get to the mathematics, you have to use Real World Stuff -- let the bastards bug that, and leave our false sense of security alone :).

(This sig has been donated to those who are currently being squashed like bugs.) </prayersig>

what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296092)

how is this going to stop hiding information within email attachments?

HOW? (-1)

infojack (25600) | about 13 years ago | (#2296093)

How will this catch terrorist? Do they follow the laws? This will work as well as gun control. The criminals will have the guns, and we are stuck with stick to defend ourselves.

I wish I wasn't surounded by morons.

Well... (5, Insightful)

Scoria (264473) | about 13 years ago | (#2296094)

I'm sure some open-source (and even minor corporations) would never agree to this.

Especially those not in the US.

Re:Well... (1)

jallen02 (124384) | about 13 years ago | (#2296151)

To bad it is the major corporations and money makers who get all of the influential decisions made in this country.


My essay (4, Interesting)

jallen02 (124384) | about 13 years ago | (#2296095)

This is what I am afraid of! :(

Please read my essay and if you like it pass it on to people. We can't let this happen. I have been saying this since day one. Please please think about this :(

The Price of Freedom []


Re:My essay (3, Offtopic)

Supa Mentat (415750) | about 13 years ago | (#2296229)

I agree with a lot of what you had to say. But the idea that we could possibly hit them so hard that no one would ever again DARE to do something like this is absurd. A strike that powerful does not exist. Why would terrorists like these ever fear us? Because we're going to kill them if they try anything? Perhaps you forget that they died doing this. Religious fanatics don't give a damn what you can do. If they die they are going cloaked in the glory of their God and will forever be considered martyrs by their people. We have to respond with something but there will never be a thing we can do to keep religious fanatics and other suicide terrorists scared enough of us as to prevent them from attacking us.

Re:My essay (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 13 years ago | (#2296230)

In the name of all that is decent un-center your paragraphs.


I don't think so. (5, Insightful)

stuccoguy (441799) | about 13 years ago | (#2296100)

Make it illegal to have crypto with no back doors and all law abiding crypto users will use back-door laden crypto and their law abiding messages will be an open book to law enforcement agencies.

Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to use widely available crypto packages with no back door and will still be able to transmit messages without threat of law enforcement decrypting them.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

nomadicGeek (453231) | about 13 years ago | (#2296197)

Maybe they couldn't decrypt them but they may be able to identify them more easily. Encrypted messages without the backdoor might be easily flagged and bring attention to the sender.

I don't agree with the proposed legislation but I don't think that they are foolish in believing that it will make their job easier.

Re:I don't think so. (2, Troll)

The Pim (140414) | about 13 years ago | (#2296210)

Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to use widely available crypto packages with no back door and will still be able to transmit messages without threat of law enforcement decrypting them.

Think harder: With carnivore, the government sees all traffic. They see crypto they can't break, they trace it with help from the ISP, they pay someone a not-so-friendly visit.

Please stop convincing yourself it can't work. It can work, and pretending otherwise will only make it more likely.

Re:I don't think so. (3, Insightful)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | about 13 years ago | (#2296262)

There are too many things that encrypted information can be sent in. A simple "Coke sends this free drink tray" windows binary could probably have a code hidden in it.

If someone wants to hide information, they will, period. All this law would do is make our own information - our credit card numbers and personal information - less secure.

Lets face it : if the feds can break it, so can crackers.

It's too late (2, Insightful)

KilljoyAZ (412438) | about 13 years ago | (#2296101)

Whatever djinni that was in the bottle is out now. Restricting cryptography and crypto research in the US will do nothing to prevent its further development abroad. The Congress' energies would best be spent elsewhere, I think.

This will do little good. (5, Insightful)

ThePurpleBuffalo (111594) | about 13 years ago | (#2296103)

Realistically, since the threat originates abroad, you would need to make all countries of the world follow this law. Also keep in mind that terrorists don't usually follow laws. Thirdly, home grown crypto is easy because Applied Cryptography (great book) costs $40.

WTF (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296105)

Mandatory Crypto Backdoors: thats like saying that anything with the words "Top Secret" on it should be posted on every major website, and shown on TV. Stupid...

Echelon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296107)

I think Congress just figured out the easiest way for the government to save money. Get backdoors into everything, and you don't need the huge expensive code-cracking supercomputers anymore.

Damn them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296109)

There's plenty of crypto stuff out there that doesn't have backdoors. It's secure enough to make the NSA shit a brick. Even if private citizens can't get strong crypto, I doubt this crap will stop the terrorists. I'd post some source, but I don't want to disappear.


Independant Crypto Software (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296110)

This is all well and good but we have to remember where programs like PGP originated from. It would not be all that difficult for a terrorist/organized-crime to contract a programmer to write such an application based on RSA or IDEA. Even with backdoors, the U.S. will have to dive head first into stenography which is the clear alternative to encryption.

Re:Independant Crypto Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296193)

i think you may mean steganography

Re:Independant Crypto Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296237)

No, he's talking about having things dictated to doctors, who have handwriting that's legible only to themselves.

Re:Independant Crypto Software (3, Informative)

reverius (471142) | about 13 years ago | (#2296257)

"Stenography which is the clear alternative to encryption"...

umm, "stenography" is "The art or process of writing in shorthand." according to [] .

I think what you meant was "steganography", which is "The art of writing in cipher, or in characters which are not intelligible except to persons who have the key; cryptography.".

we knew there were going to be trade offs (1)

Villain (19081) | about 13 years ago | (#2296112)

We all understand that security = 1/freedom and I hope that the government does not get way out of control. It is obvious that our airport security was not up to snuff and most part the internet is a fairly insecure place. I don't think that anyone watching the terror unfold had any doubts that their lives were going to be changed forever. Hopefully, some sort of balance between security and freedom will be reached even if it means being stripped of many of our freedoms in the short term.

Re:we knew there were going to be trade offs (1)

dr.mabusa (75834) | about 13 years ago | (#2296212)

There is no such thing as "being stripped of many of our freedoms in the short term". Once it is gone, it's not going to come back until another civil war. That's the bottom line. Note that things that cost too much will go away again, but they will probably be replaced by something less costly. For example, increased airport security (whatever that is) will eventually be paid by those who fly, those who pay taxes, or it will die again, to be replaced by something like retina scans before you board an airplane...

backdoors will do nothing to stop terrorists (1)

S. Allen (5756) | about 13 years ago | (#2296114)

it is merely and inconvenience and private threat to law-abiding citizens. any criminal with half a brain-cell will use their own crypto on top of any encrypted or open links. the technology is already out there and cannot be recalled.

how does the government propose to revoke bin laden's existing crypto? how will this new law possible stop him or others? that's right, it won't.

The cat is already out of the bag (3, Redundant)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 13 years ago | (#2296116)

The cat is already out of the bag
The genie is out of the bottle
Humpty Dumpty is already broken

What would this accomplish?

Re:The cat is already out of the bag (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 13 years ago | (#2296199)

What would this accomplish?

Some elected officials can boast on the campaign trail how they enacted laws that allow us to sleep safely at night. Complete bunk, but they don't care. Its the easy solution.


Clock It! 2001-1984=17 Years Late (5, Interesting)

Col. Panic (90528) | about 13 years ago | (#2296117)

The price of safety is too high if we are to reveal all communications to a government body. I am reminded of the arguments to register all firearms and the corresponding cry, "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!"

Carnivore is one thing, but a backdoor to all crypto is yet another. Financial transactions from private organizations are routinely encrypted for obvious reasons. Are we to trust government employees with all financial transactions merely because we elect them? I think not.

We cannot allow the government a "skeleton key" to all crypto if only for the reason that it can then be compromised by others for whom access was not intended. Urge your congresscritter just to say "no".

backdoor v2.0 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Admin (304403) | about 13 years ago | (#2296119)

We can rest assured that all terrorists will promptly upgrade their crypto systems to use the backdoored versions. They are a patriotic and considerate bunch after all.



Results? (1)

Rayonic (462789) | about 13 years ago | (#2296121)

And how is this supposed to stop Bin Ladin from encrypting his communications? Seems like the only people that would end up with these helpful 'backdoors' would be us citizens.

Re:Results? (1)

de Selby (167520) | about 13 years ago | (#2296214)

>Mental note: Kill Random People.

Just the random ones?

Huh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296122)

Like the concept could possibly work. Why dont you just forbid terrorists from using oxygen? About as practical, and 100% effective.

enforceability (1)

kinko (82040) | about 13 years ago | (#2296124)

And how, exactly, will this stop people

who live outside of the USA from using "real"

encryption? And how can they even detect people inside the USA from receiving and decoding "real" encrypted messages? It's like copyright - they

can't physically stop you downloading in violation of copyright (if you were that way inclined).

I guess what the world should do is come up with an acceptable compromise - have one encryption standard for communications, but get Adobe to come up with it...

Would a restriction on crypto do ANYTHING? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296125)

Does anyone thing that Bin Laden (or other criminals) would have trouble getting his hands on crypto software if it were to be restricted? We're not talking about a law abiding American citizen.

Secondly, did anyone see this clip [] of Bush today? I mean... I think it speaks for itself.

It's OK everyone, calm down. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296126)

Most people don't have anything to hide in their messages, so what's the big harm in letting the government have access to some crypto backdoors? If it stops the absolute terror we just saw on Tuesday, then I'm all for it, and I've written my congressperson to throw my full support behind it.

Traitor! (0)

MatthewLovelace (465003) | about 13 years ago | (#2296170)

Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither.

Silly (1)

thrig (36791) | about 13 years ago | (#2296127)

All this means is foreign business will not buy American crypto, and secret plotting will be done (as it has been for thousands of years) in a hidden cave somewhere.

Heavy crypto user? (5, Interesting)

Glytch (4881) | about 13 years ago | (#2296128)

Are they nuts? This guy lives isolated in mountain camps. I doubt he's even a heavy electicity user.

His sympathizers, on the other hand...

Re:Heavy crypto user? (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 13 years ago | (#2296244)

He's a millionare that runs a sophisticated terrorist network consisting of cells all over the world.

Yes, Dorothy, there are computers in the third world.

um bad idea (1)

Pi-Zero Meson (453690) | about 13 years ago | (#2296131)

It seems to me that this has the same problem as the war on guns, if we outlaw cryptography programs with out back doors only criminals will use them.

I think I speak for slashdot when I say... (0, Redundant)

Mdog (25508) | about 13 years ago | (#2296134)

Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

Re:I think I speak for slashdot when I say... (2)

Ghoser777 (113623) | about 13 years ago | (#2296165)

The real question: is privacy a fundamental liberty? It's never touched on in the constitution. The right to be left alone is flat out left out.

The reason? Our founding fathers had no idea how large cities and communities and government would get. How oculd they forsee the future conflicts of privacy vs safety?

I generally lean toward protected privacy, but it almost seems like it has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, who's the one who's doing the deciding?


Re:I think I speak for slashdot when I say... (2)

Tachys (445363) | about 13 years ago | (#2296227)

4th Admendment?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Re:I think I speak for slashdot when I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296246)

Man, how did I forget the 4th amendment? I must have brain cramped or something,

I guess that real question is whether Congress will uphold those rights.

How far down the slippery slope will we go? (5, Insightful)

Ghoser777 (113623) | about 13 years ago | (#2296137)

Sure, they want backdoors into email encryption now, and it seems harmless, but what will they want next? Why not have every home in America bugged; that way we can know when a burgaler is going to commit a crime. Cameras everywhere, low crime. Of course, the price will be the right of privacy.

And when your behaviors are available freely for government inspection, it's much easier for them to supress behaviors they do not approve of (cause they know when it happens, unlike now when it can be hidden behind closed doors). You know, meetings about how to reform government.

Of course the government will tell you that they'll use these backdoors only when they need to, national security type things. That's what the Dean at my old high school said, and then we caught him watching the monitors repeatedly for the fun of it.

Oh yeah, not that the government has to actually be watching for you to be good now. Think how different your ations would be if you thought that the government might be watching at all times. This is pure, hardcore social control. It's like a gaurd tower in a jail. If there are clear windows, you can always tell when you are watched and when you are not. If the windows are dark, then you never know if you are being watched, so you act as if you are always being watched.

They might as well run a wire into our head.


They can't (2, Insightful)

Nicodemus (19510) | about 13 years ago | (#2296139)

Most crypto is made outside of the US, and as such they would have no control for adding back doors to it. They would have to create an import restriction so that US citizen's can only use US written crypto. And that wouldn't hurt Bin Laden at all. So don't worry...

They can, rather easily- make crypto criminal. (5, Informative)

Nonesuch (90847) | about 13 years ago | (#2296168)

The concept is that if you are caught using non-backdoor-enabled crypto software, then they don't need to prove that you are a terrorist, they can just throw you in jail for a few dozen years based solely on the easily proven charge of 'possession of illegal munitions (crypto)".

IMHO, this is just one more step towards a police state.

If strong crypto is outlawed... (1)

dave-fu (86011) | about 13 years ago | (#2296141)

...only outlaws will have strong crypto.
See also: it's nigh impossible to stuff that genie back in that teensy weensy bottle.
That said, if every politician was willing to come clean with every lobbyist they talk to and every single red cent of soft money their pockets are lined with, I might be a bit more willing to listen to them try and take away my selfsame right to freedom.
In the absence of that, they can, with all due respect, go frick themselves silly.

ok. they just won. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296142)

freedom is something you fight for, not give away because you're scared.

Feh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296143)

I already got working encryption software and will keep it, fuck you very much. Regulate SSH3 and PGP8 all you want, I got a nice spook-free SSH2 and PGP7.something right here. Congress can take a great big flying fuck into their burning Pentagon.

How would that help? (5, Interesting)

cperciva (102828) | about 13 years ago | (#2296146)

From what I've heard, Osama Bin Laden doesn't use cryptography so much as he avoids using electronic communications at all. He has even (gasp) been reported to meet with his underlings *physically*, as in "lets all go into the same room and talk face-to-face".

Cryptography wouldn't really help terrorists much anyway, because electronic surveillance can still pick up who is talking to whom; the real problem is when people avoid electronic communications, because then you can't do anything without spies on the ground.

Baron Harkonen and the Heart-plugs (5, Funny)

aminorex (141494) | about 13 years ago | (#2296148)

Illustrious Baron Harkonen today decreed that
all citizens will be equiped with remote-controlled
heart-plugs. This will make us all safe, because
only the loving Baron will have the transmitter,
and he will only use it to protect us.

Forget Crypto, how about KNIVES? (5, Funny)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | about 13 years ago | (#2296153)

Did you know, you can walk into almost any store and buy a knife WITHOUT ANY BACKGROUND CHECK? They should at least check the buyer for dark hair and skin, the signs of a terrorist.
And I understand that plans to make knives are available on the internet? It used to be, only a skilled craftsman could make one, now any punk in his mom's basement can craft a steel blade capable of hijacking an airplane and crashing it into a building!

Re:Forget Crypto, how about KNIVES? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296171)

so you mean that all non white people with non blonde hair are terrorists? I didn't know that. I guess I'll have to go kill myself to protect national security now.

Re:Forget Crypto, how about KNIVES? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296220)

I sincerely hope you have no knives, because I doubt you'ver ever forged a knife...

And that was a great sweeping generalization, asshole...

Best reply (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 13 years ago | (#2296155)

I think the best reply one can give to the politicians who want to impose this is:
"And Osama Bin Laden is going to throw away his foreign-developed, non-backdoored encryption software and buy US-made backdoored encryption software exactly why?"

Encryption = Guns (1)

vtechpilot (468543) | about 13 years ago | (#2296156)

I am a firm believer in the right to bear encryption.

The right to bear arms is there to protect us from the goverenment from becoming a tyranny. Tyrant in charge? Shoot em! Big brother in charge? Encrypt!

Re:Encryption = Guns (1)

vtechpilot (468543) | about 13 years ago | (#2296196)

Ok, I am replying to myself, but ....
"Encryption doesn't kill people, Terrorist kill people."

Maybe.. (1)

dohnut (189348) | about 13 years ago | (#2296160)

..the government can break current encryption methods - easily.

Maybe they want terrorists to think that the U.S. government is afraid of encryption and therefore encourage it's use amongst them. Meanwhile, we, the citizens, suffer however.

Probably not, but hey..

Steven King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296161)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

don't forget Rivest's "Winnowing and Chaffing" (5, Interesting)

siraustin (129661) | about 13 years ago | (#2296163)

Re:don't forget Rivest's "Winnowing and Chaffing" (4, Insightful)

scrytch (9198) | about 13 years ago | (#2296263)

> Back in 1998 Rivest wrote Chaffing and Winnowing: Confidentiality without Encryption [].

Massively informative. But the intent to maintain privacy is still there, and let's not kid ourselves, that's what they really want to eliminate. It'll be just as illegal as any crypto to use this. They may as well just make it mandatory to put the NSA on the cc: line.

Our "Open" society (1)

terrymah (316545) | about 13 years ago | (#2296169)

I knew issues such as this would come up when I heard news reporters on Tuesday comment on how this attack was only possible because of our "open" society.

The irrational way to look at this is "This is just another attempt by THE MAN to take our rights away". I think it is clear that in our society there is a balance between the rights of the individual citizen and the safety of the masses. Previously, most of us have asserted that this is not true without reason - that more rights does not mean less safety, and less rights does not mean more safety - because that is the "american way" and how we were brought up. I have been forced to admit in the past days that this just isn't true, on one end of the spectrum we can have zero rights and have our safety assured (strip searches at airports, every phone call monitored, 1984 etc etc) and at the other end we have anarchy and the ability to do whatever we want but our saftey is always in question.

I think this /. story is just part of a greater question we need to ask. Did we, as a country, get the balance of rights vs. safety wrong? In all seriousness, are some of the rights we hold dear REALLY that important now that we're forced to realize that tuesdays events are possible? Are we willing to give up some of our rights (not limited to privacy) to lessen the odds of this happening again?

If you are sitting there shaking your head and thinking I am a troll, what will it take to have you consider this question? Does someone need to walk into downtown LA or San Fransico with a suitcase mininuke and kill 300,000 people before you wonder if search and seizure without just cause is REALLY that big of a deal?

Just something to think about. In the meantime, the CIA is more than welcome to read my email and laugh at the list of porn sites I visit.

Re:Our "Open" society (1)

Steve B (42864) | about 13 years ago | (#2296234)

on one end of the spectrum we can have zero rights and have our safety assured

Did they teach any history classes where you went to school?

Totalitarian governments are still three orders of magnitude ahead of terrorists in the death-toll game.

No Crypto, Fine.... enforce your damn laws! (3, Insightful)

LWolenczak (10527) | about 13 years ago | (#2296179)

I, an American Citizen enjoy the security I have with crypto. I like knowing that the scriptkiddies that can see my traffic are unable to gain any information from my traffic that could be used against me, against my employer, or my friends.

Why bother to make more laws? I'm sure there is a large stack of computer related laws, but nearly none are enforced, except when they want to slam somebody who is doing something thats perfictly fine in our books, but that they just don't like.

I say we need to rally on this one, Crypto is good. It protects the common man from imtimindation, It protects companies private information, it aids in the protection of networks, that would otherwise be at risk of being hacked, by open logins, passwords, and secrets that cross the internet all the time.

If you want to detur use of encryption, just outlaw it, and only the unlawful will use it, the lawful are the ONLY people hurt by such ideas and possible laws.

Be reasonable, and Just. This is no time to be bickering anyway, nor is it time to take actions anywhere close to what the FAA has done.

If everybody had a knife on those planes, do you think the hijackers would have even tried to take over the flight, if they knew everybody on board could cut them, or stab them. It's just like towns in Texas that everybody carries guns in, there is nearly no crime in those towns. Again, what the FAA has done, only hurts the lawful people.

IPSec & SSL Rocks!

Traffic Analysis and Steganography (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296183)

The thing is that, if we'd all been using PGP for all of our email for the past five or ten years, it would be much, much harder to catch a terrorist using the system. You can do traffic analysis so much more easily when only a few percent of messages are encrypted.

So if they do ban crypto without back doors, the non-back-doored messages stick out and can them be ferried off to the NSA to be analysed with much less effort.

It's hard to argue with this, you know? I've personally stopped encoding my messages for the moment so as not to soak Echelon bandwidth - and I'm only half joking. We may have worse enemies to worry about right now than our goverment.

Ashley Seaton is sofa king hot! I wanna fuck her (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296185)

I wanna fuck her up the ass!

Give it up... (1)

dbuttric (9027) | about 13 years ago | (#2296191)

While I realize that it is an invasion of our liberties...
If they want to read my email, let 'em.
If they want ot read email about confidential stuff that I work with that requires NDA -- who am I? I dont care...

What I want is for ('them' - The Gov't) to be able to monitor things, so that the bad guys go where they need to go. I get that they are not the most compenant people, but if this is what they want, they'll probably get it anyway...

Sorry, but thats my feeling.


Re:Give it up... (2)

dmaxwell (43234) | about 13 years ago | (#2296265)

Sorry, I hate to be disrespectful but that is plain idiotic. While you're at it why don't you drop off copies of your house and car keys at the police station. You can also put cameras in every room of your house too. There is NO difference. You then can bask in a feeling of safety and security as a jumbo jet plows your neighborhood down. You know why? These kneejerk big brother laws won't do a thing to stop it. Those animals were disciplined and coordinated. Crypto surveillance would have done NOTHING to prevent this. NOTHING. So why does this sound good to you?

I for one am NOT handing over the bonafides to my personal boxen. I think it's time the Law Enforcement Honeypot Howto is written.

How dare they? (0)

MatthewLovelace (465003) | about 13 years ago | (#2296192)

Eviscerating the Bill of Rights, specifically the Fourth Amendment, will do nothing to stop terrorism. Passing laws banning secure crypto will not faze the terrorists; they're already outlaws!

Ben Franklin said it before, and I'm going to say it now: those who would trade liberty for safety deserve neither.

I can see it now... (2, Funny)

de Selby (167520) | about 13 years ago | (#2296195)

Adobe puts a back door into it's ROT-13.

Only a terrorist would disagree with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296200)

If you disagree with this bill then turn yourself into the police now! You are indeed a terrorist. We need to get tough on terrorism and intellectual property theives. I feel that the rescue and cleanup operation in New York City should take a backseat to DMCA enforcement.

So what open source app should I get while I can? (2)

IronChef (164482) | about 13 years ago | (#2296202)

I haven't really followed the state of crypto freeware in years. Last package I used was PGP, which now seems to be commercial (

Time to get familiar with the free stuff again, I think. What's good and reputable? I have no idea where to start.

(Looking for Mac/Win desktop stuff, but wouldn't mind looking at Unix stuff too.)

Re:So what open source app should I get while I ca (2)

J'raxis (248192) | about 13 years ago | (#2296233)

GPG [] (GNU PGP workalike) for your email, and OpenSSH [] for your secure shell needs (ssh, scp, sftp, spop, https, ...).

OpenBSD CD set includes full source code. (2)

Nonesuch (90847) | about 13 years ago | (#2296243)

My suggestion, pick up the Current OpenBSD CD set [] while you still can.

Shipped from Canada or Europe to avoid those pesky American laws.

And while you're at it, you can pick up the 'OpenBSD Globe' T-shirt with the very relevant slogan 'Make Crypto Not Munitions', and a timely quote from Ben Franklin.

OpenBSD will run on pretty much all of the same hardware that will run Mac/Win, and then some.

Only use encryption you have compiled yourself... (2)

Nonesuch (90847) | about 13 years ago | (#2296208)

The mildly paranoid will only use encryption software they have compiled themselves, from source code they can trust, written to follow specifications by respected people in the crypto community.

The mildly paranoid will also only use compilers they have compiled themselves, and only use implementations that have undergone a line-by-line code review by a trusted person in their organization.

The truly paranoid will only run this crypto on isolated systems using chips that they have personally inspected the original die and have an established 'chain of custody' from original pressing to installation in this isolated workstation.

Osama Bin Laden will just have a few dozen of his faithful followers memorize 'one time pads', and a few hundred who can do 8-round Rijndael in their heads, and laugh at the silly Americans giving up essential liberties for a little temporary safety.

Internet illegal... (1)

richieb (3277) | about 13 years ago | (#2296211)

Isn't it illegal to use Internet in Afganistan?

Also, I'm sure the Chinese goverment would be happy to agree to such a scheme.


Will they turn off the internet? (2)

unitron (5733) | about 13 years ago | (#2296213)

Someone should explain that whole horse-barn door thing to Congress.

There's no way a foreign company is going to put up with the US government being able to read their stuff like it was a plain text postcard. "Why no, Airbus, we didn't pass on the amount of your bid to the people at Boeing who donate millions to our campaign funds. You can trust us. Really."

Do they expect OBL to stop using whatever crypto he uses now and to change to the new improved with a backdoor built in version?

Bin Laden used to use cell phones and satellites, now he uses the internet the way it was originally designed to be used, as a military communications tool. If they can find his messages but not read them, will they shut down the internet to block his messages? What happens when AOL starts screaming about being put out of business? Or do they have a plan for a different type of internet, one where they provide and charge for the content, just like cable television, and all the user stuff sent back upstream goes through the NSA computers before the government allows it to get where it's supposed to go?

Jokes -- hee hee (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2296215)

How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
God knows, they keep jumping out the window when it gets too hot

What's the number one drink served on United Airlines?
Flaming Manhatten

What music do they play in the elevator in the WTC?
Jump and It's Raining Men

What colour were the pilots eyes?
Blue. One blew this way the other blew that way

What team does bin Laden support?
The New York Jets

Who are the fastest readers in the world?
New Yorkers. Some of them go through 110 stories in 5 seconds

Where do Americans go on vacation?
All over Manhatten

I guess that the NYPD and NYFD are indeed New York's finest now -- you could strain them through a sieve!

How many Americans died in the WTC yesterday?
Who gives a fuck

duh (1)

TheDarkRogue (245521) | about 13 years ago | (#2296219)

Then if all the new cryptos have backdoors, terrorists will just use old ones without.... Not like they will much care about using the new ones, who is going to force them to?

This was inevitable, but it's still sad... (5, Informative)

FangVT (144970) | about 13 years ago | (#2296232)

In a floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) called for a global prohibition on encryption products without backdoors for government surveillance. "This is something that we need international cooperation on and we need to have movement on in order to get the information that allows us to anticipate and prevent what occurred in New York and in Washington," Gregg said, according to a copy of his remarks that an aide provided.

This is base grandstanding by a politician in the wake of tragedy. Saying that it needs international cooperation is tantamount to admitting that it can't be done and setting up to blame the rest of the world when it fails.

The constitution was written by a group of people that had visceral knowledge of what it means to need a revolution, in the bloodiest sense of that word. Our modern laws would be a lot better if they were informed by that same knowledge.

The horse is gone. Let's close the barn door! (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 13 years ago | (#2296240)

It takes an incredible amount of conceit to imagine that the U.S.A. is the only possible source of encryption software in the world. What makes these idiots think that Bin Laden is going to continue to upgrade his software (and therefore subject himself to potential back doors which his current software lacks)? And back doors are useless against stenography anyway.
It would make more sense to put "backdoors" in airplanes to prevent crazy pilots from getting control of them in the first place! I can't think of any non-stupid way to implement this. (Do we really want airplanes to be remotely pilotable? But it can't be a worse idea than restrictions on cryptography.
Maybe they should pass a law that from now on, terrorists must encrypt their communications with CSS.

gladly giving away our civil liberties? (5, Insightful)

solipsists (519537) | about 13 years ago | (#2296248)

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." -- 4th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution "[...]and every time we allow the government to grow in power at the expense of the people, we put ourselves in jeopardy of losing the ability to free ourselves of them if it goes too far." -- Thomas Jefferson (quotes taken from matthew rothenberg's 7/11/2000 article on the fbi's carnivore:,5859,2 601960,00.html )

We were all afraid of this... (2)

Cylix (55374) | about 13 years ago | (#2296249)

After the terrorist attack it looks like fear will be used to fuel what some legislatures have been wanting.

We don't want to lose our freedom or our lives to an aggressor. Likewise, we don't want to lose our freedom in our own country by our own government.

Already this attack has injected a healthy burst of cash flow into the military.

Now, they wish to limit our cryptography. Of course many threads have pointed out the fact the bad guys(tm) would never use these versions. This is simply using fear to gain what you have wanted all along.

What will fear be used to limit next? What will it be used to gain?

I would not doubt if there is already some conjecture to give more power to government agencies for search and seizure.

I'm all in favor of doing whats possible to strengthen our defences. A healhty checks and balance system must be obtained above all else. This was what our fundamental structure was built on and will continue to serve the needs of the people. Let us not see it destroyed out of fear.

I'm sure Osama will use backdoored encryption (2)

1010011010 (53039) | about 13 years ago | (#2296254)

After all, he's a law-abiding U.S. Citizen, is he not?

Quantum Research (1)

de Selby (167520) | about 13 years ago | (#2296255)

So, what does this mean for quantum encryption?

It can't be intercepted! Will the research be illegal now?

How many lives? (1)

Colz Grigor (126123) | about 13 years ago | (#2296259)

I used to believe in the freedom to act, think and speak whatever I wanted. Hand in hand with that was my ultimate belief in privacy.

But until now I never had a coinage for the value of privacy.

How many lives is my complete privacy worth?

For me, not a single one.

::Colz Grigor


Congress doesn't understand crypto (1)

kikta (200092) | about 13 years ago | (#2296264)

Most lawmakers don't understand it, how it works, or why it is necessary for legitimate uses. They get briefings from staffers who don't understand it, who got briefed by people with an agenda. We need to put more efforts into Congressional education, IMHO.
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