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Interim Response from Philip Zimmermann

Roblimo posted more than 13 years ago | from the getting-out-of-hand dept.

Encryption 305

The little No Regrets about PGP piece from Philip Zimmermann and the associated interview "call for questions" we ran on Sept. 24 seems to have stirred up quite a ruckus. Apparently online crypto has become such a hot button issue that it is impossible to hold a rational conversation on the topic right now. Because of this, instead of answering the interview questions, Philip sent us a brief statement. We'll try to interview him (and other crypto experts) later, after passions die down a bit.

Overreaction to Washington Post Article

It seems that my recent clarification of how I was represented in the 21 September Washington Post article has itself created a deluge of harsh criticism of the Washington Post and the reporter who wrote the article.

People seem to be assuming the Washington Post is part of some grand conspiracy to restrict the availability of strong cryptography. I would like to say that this is an overreaction and a misinterpretation on the part of these critics.

I believe this was an honest misunderstanding by the people at the Post, and I never meant to imply in my previous clarification that this was done on purpose or with any malicious intent. On the contrary, I believe the Post worked hard to be fair in the story and had the best of intentions when they ran it.

Further, I'd like to say that all the individual facts and quotes were reported correctly. But the Post connected the dots in a slightly different way to conclude that I was feeling guilty even though I was simply feeling grief and anger just like everyone else since the attacks occurred. Overall, I thought the article was fine except for that one line that says I was "overwhelmed with guilt."

My purpose for sending out my original clarification was not to criticize the Post but to assure everyone that I am still standing firm on my convictions that PGP and other strong encryption products should be available to the public, with no back doors.

Through the years of coverage the Post has given the issue of cryptography restrictions, I have never detected any bias at the Post to promote restrictions on crypto. In fact, if they have any bias at all, it seems to be in the other direction. They helped me when I needed to keep the Justice Department at bay in 1995. We will need them again in the coming weeks as we in the crypto community attempt to keep the freedoms we have, as legislators try to impose new restrictions on strong crypto.

I find this jihad of criticism of the Post to be inappropriate. I can easily tell from talking with the reporter that her intentions were good. It is grossly unfair to punish her with all this hate mail. It's embarrassing to me and damaging to her. If anyone in the world of journalism wants any further clarification from me on that reporter's competence or journalistic integrity, feel free to call me directly and I will explain it to you in more detail.

I am in London at a data security conference, without as much Internet access as I have at home, so I cannot keep writing about this matter for much longer. I hope this letter is enough to put this matter to rest.

Philip Zimmermann

Version: PGP 7.0.3

iQA/AwUBO7ILqcdGNjmy13leEQLryACfffYuStFXNTC0aWnJStMEAWsbQSgAn0ID d2bqoxnEbABk+1V/edlzC84A =uBHG

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what!!? (0, Troll)

flynt (248848) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357513)

That's the BEST time to interview someone, sure the answers you get might not make sense sometimes, but it really shows how a person feels, which is the point of the interview! And plus, you'd think someone with the smarts of Zimmerman would be able to articulate himself in any situation! Is he scared of what might happen to him if he says what he really thinks?? Labeled as a terrorist??

Re:what!!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357585)

Our government is about to embark on the largest and longest lasting witchhunt known to mankind. this will make McCarthyism look like a christmas party. Zimmerman has nothing to fear at the moment but there is no reason to expect sanity from the government in the future.
Our current government seems ignorant of the issues, unconcerned with Constitutional conflicts, angry, have a burning desire to /do something/. That does not give me the warm and fuzzies.

Re:what!!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357603)

On Sept.11, 2001, America was hit by an unprecedented attack on its shores. The devastation and loss of life is incalculable. It is clear to me, as it should be to all Americans, what our nation must do: Retaliate with blind, violent rage, striking back with a fury and vengeance the likes of which modern man has never seen.

We must launch every available missile at any nation in which the terrorists are rumored to be hiding. We must bomb every square inch of any country that may be harboring them. Then, when the thick, black smoke has finally cleared, we must bomb them all over again, reducing the rubble to its component atoms. If, in the midst of carpet-bombing a country, we find that it had no involvement in the Sept. 11 attack, so be it. Apologies can come later, but vengeance must be immediate.

After pummeling the holy living hell out of those fuckers with bombs, we should send in ground troops, armed to the teeth, to sweep through and exterminate anyone still alive who might have been involved. America's soldiers must be under orders to pump round after round into their bodies, pausing only to replace their clips. Only then will closure to this horrible event be possible. If we do not strike back fast and with as much military might as humanly possible, America will never be able to heal.

Some people argue that if we capture Osama bin Laden and his co-conspirators, we should bring them to justice before a U.N. tribunal. I say that to bring them before a civilized court is to raise them up to the level of humans. Terrible acts must be punished with terrible retribution. Are we going to humanely execute by lethal injection men who wantonly killed thousands of innocents? Instead, all of those who are guilty must be dipped in boiling fat and fed to dogs.

Many say that using a nuclear weapon on the nations that harbor such sub-human filth would be rash and irresponsible. To which I say, "Why use a nuclear weapon when we have hundreds in our nation's silos?" Should nuclear weapons be used? The question, really, is how many should be used, and can I push the buttons?

Re:what!!? (0, Insightful)

flegged (227082) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357760)

This is not redundant. It is frighteningly close to the truth. Dubya is gun happy. And now he needs absolutely no excuse to continue his fathers idiotic star wars programme. He can shoot planes out of the sky and claim that they were being hijacked. He can arrest anyone and claim they were terrorists. He can read your email, have you followed, have you shot, on the suspicion of terrorism. And how do you define terrorism now? Anyone who speaks out against America.

The name of 'Osama Bin Laden' (is that even a real person?) is being used a propoganda target, just as Milosovic before him, Hussein, Gaddafi, and on and on....
Dubya never actually started a war with China (despite how much he wanted to), because they have nukes now. But now he's found a new target. A small country without a UN recognised government. A country with thousands of innocent civilians who will be killed when the US sends in their bombs. A country with a volunteer army and no major weaponry. And no hope of defence from the slaughter that America will bring. It will be another Vietnam, except the US will be even more ruthless, killing innocents from afar with laser-guided weaponry.

Think about this for a moment. Number of people killed on September 11th : 6000+
Number of people killed by the US in Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Serbia, Bosnia, Vietnam : Millions.

America is the new Ingsoc. Dubya is Big Brother. Afghanistan is the Enemy. Osama Bin Laden is Emanuel Goldstein.

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Re:what!!? (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357651)

"That's the BEST time to interview someone, sure the answers you get might not make sense sometimes, but it really shows how a person feels, which is the point of the interview! And plus, you'd think someone with the smarts of Zimmerman would be able to articulate himself in any situation! Is he scared of what might happen to him if he says what he really thinks?? Labeled as a terrorist?"

I can see that your many years as a professional journalist qualifies you to make this statement, but I digress even before I begin. About the quickest way I can think of to announce to the world that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about is to even suggest that Phil Zimmerman is afraid to stand up for his convictions in the face of any adversity. Apparently you didn't read anything he ever wrote, including both Slashdot articles, as he came right out in both cases and stated emphatically that he supports public crypto and will continue to do so regardless of what anyone thinks. He realizes that people who want to outlaw it seak to outlaw the first and fourth amendments of the constitution of the United States of America. For now, I will assume you just completely misunderstood everything he ever said, because I would hate to think that you posted without even reading the links. We all no Slashdot readers never do that 8^}



first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357514)

first post

Important News - Islamic Militant kills 14! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357707)

No bullshit. Islamic Terrorists go on a murderous gun rampage in Switzerland. 14 dead already. id_1566000/1566321.stm []

Bad Frontpage Link (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357515)

Change the word 'interview' to the word 'articles' and the link works. Of course, if you read this, you've probably worked that out!

More Islamic Terror - Germany (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357726)

Islamic extremists have hijacked a packed passenger train in Germany, and forced it to crash into another train. Germany have recently gone on record as supporting the International Coalition against Terrorism. id_1566000/1566100.stm []

When will the madness end?

hmm. (4, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357524)

i think the whole idea of purposly misinterpeting the interview had to do with the line that went something along this -> "I asked her to repeat the interview back to me and i told her that i was not feeling guilty for making PGP ect., but when it got to print, the editors decided to change it around ...". If that's not purposly changing his words around, i dunno what is.

Re:hmm. (5, Insightful)

nlvp (115149) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357572)

He also made it very clear that he thought the mistake was due to overwork, and the general tone of his article was not critical to the Washington Post, but rather trying to clear up a misunderstanding.

Zimmerman comes across as constructive and considered precisely because he spends more time trying to clear up the facts rather than point the finger at everyone in sight, blame the establishment and cry conspiracy at the top of his voice. It's precisely because his contributions to discussions are so considered that he has reached a position where his opinions carry a lot of weight.

Anyone who was expecting a similarly considered reaction from Slashdot (as a whole, not individuals), was obviously being a little optimistic. Most of the posts seemed to indicate that the most people got out of Zimmerman's letter was that the Washington Post had misrepresented him - they then went on their (somewhat predictable) anti-WP crusade as they perceived one of their heroes to have been slighted.

Thank goodness the hero himself has the presence of mind to calm things down before they get out of hand. But I doubt the reaction did much to endear the Slashdot crowd to him. At least he knows where to go if he needs to rally some unconsidered fanatical support.

Disclaimer: I am not making comments directed at any individual post, but at a theme that ran through a number of posts in the other thread, so don't take it personally.

(mod parent up) Re:hmm. (3, Interesting)

ishark (245915) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357576)

I agree with you, but I think (fear?) that it doesn't come from some conspiration against crypto, but from the fact that often newspapers tend to "correct" reality a bit in order to make their articles sound more "strong". I've witnessed this happen a couple of times. After all, normal, flat life and feelings are a bit too "grey" to attract the public. A nice black/white strikes much more....

Re:(mod parent up) Re:hmm. (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357592)

My problem with newspapers is that they put far too many words inside quotation marks, thus pissing off most intelligent readers. Maybe if their writers had a better command of the language there would be no need to commit such grammatical atrocity.

Re:hmm. (1)

Scottaroo (461317) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357608)

But the question is who changed the words around. If the reporter got it right and an anonymous coward of an editor changed it to suit his/her idea of what the herd wanted to hear, flaming the reporter isn't the answer.

Re:hmm. (5, Insightful)

Roblimo (357) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357748)

The reason for most editorial cuts in newspaper stories is not to give them a "slant" but to make them fit into available space on the page.

Newspapers lay out pages by putting in the ads first, then filling the remaining white space (called the "news hole") with stories. Often there are more stories the boss editors feel are important than there is space to run all of them full length, so some or all of the stories get trimmed to fit. Decisions on what words to cut out of which stories are not made by a group of cackling [liberal; conservative; Zionist; law enforcement] conspirators in a back room, but by overworked (and usually underpaid) wordsmiths watching the clock tick toward the moment when the presses are scheduled to run. These people do not have the power to decide which stories get covered and which do not. They are the hands-on people responsible for getting the paper put together on time every day; the sergeants of the newspaper business, you might say.

Deadline pressure combined with the necessity to make the paper fit as much information as possible onto each (expensive) square inch of newsprint is to blame for at least 99% of all perceived newspaper copyediting errors.

The copyeditor who is making the cuts is also, in most cases, proofreading the stories, checking facts, and writing headlines. It is a brutal job, and out of the hundreds of stories a big newspaper like The Post runs in every edition, chances are approximately 100% that at least a few cuts will be made that are less than perfect.

A big advantage Internet news purveyors have over print news sources, and over broadcast sources too, who have "X" minutes of time to fill, and that's it, is that it costs effectively nothing to run 5 extra paragraphs of text on the WWW if those paragraphs will add more depth or accuracy to a story.

Hands-on, daily deadline copyediting is a brutal job carried out not by "anonymous cowards" but by people who do their best to make stories as accurate and readable as possible in too little time, usually on a copy desk that is a few people short not only because of recent media layoffs, but because competent copyeditors are always in short supply. The job takes an immense range of knowledge, powerful research skills, and a willingness to accept attacks for every mistake made while foregoing public credit when everything goes "just right."

- Robin

Measuring media dishonesty (2, Informative)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357638)

At [] there is a media dishonesty rating system. See the link standard dishonesty rating system [] . As a rating system it is insightful and tough. The author claims a score of 30 bad points is reasonable.

In general i think most press dishonesty is in pursuit of the aim to be more interesting. That's the main selling value. Political agendas are much less important to press than most people think.

Useful moderation system for Slashdot? Very valuable, yes. Question is how. Too heavy for full use.

A sane reaction (2, Insightful)

smaughster (227985) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357525)

I am very glad to read a sane reaction to something which could easily have become a huge anti- WPost flame. Now let's hope that this influences all the other people who are discussing encryption at the moment (read government), to get a somewhat more sensible discussion about privacy and encryption instead of a fear-driven hype against terrorism.

PGP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357527)

Pretty Good for Pterrorism.

Re:PGP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357536)

+1 funny

convenient (3, Redundant)

gowen (141411) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357529)

online crypto has become such a hot button issue that it is impossible to hold a rational conversation on the topic right now

Wow, perfect fodder for slashdot then

IMPORTANT NEWS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357669)

Goatse [] has come out of mourning.

Thank you (5, Insightful)

Chris_Pugrud (16615) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357530)

It's good to see that many people have a sound head on their shoulders and are not engaging in over-reaching knee-jerk reactions.

Find the time to write your congresscritter, but do it when you are not emotional. Tell them that security research is not cracking, that cracking is not terrorism (if you don't take the time to properly secure your systems, you need to take some liability!), tell them that crypto is free speech, it is the ability of people to have a private conversation! A conversation without big ears, between a limited group of people. Then let the letter sit overnight and read it in fresh light.

If you really want them to listen, take the time to print out your letter, after you have sent it online, address some envelopes and send them hard copy!

If you really wan to stir some feathers, then remind them of the declaration of independence - "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security"


Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357579)

When mentioning your right and duty to throw off such Government, you may also want to point out that the founding fathers gave you the means to do so. You just have to pull a lever in a little booth.

A better approach (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357640)

Although I completely agree with the the "free speech" approach to justifying crypto, I fear that at a time like this, it isn't convincing enough to many people ("So what about some crumbly paper that's 200+ years old - People are dying NOW!"). If that's all that's stopping a clampdown on crypto, you can kiss it goodbye. And worst case, once the "free speech" argument has had holes poked in it, there's no telling where else that precedent will be used.

A better approach, it seems to me, is to point out the mind-boggling arrogance of the assumption that strong crypto can ONLY originate in the USA. Sure, we're clever, but it's not like there aren't any clever people anywhere else in the world! Outlawing crypto HERE will NOT prevent the bad guys from using it THERE!

Re:A better approach (3, Insightful)

jkorty (86242) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357694)

Let's punch another hole. Let's say the US gov passes a law banning crypto for her own citizens. That gives other countries the green flag to pass a related law. Eventually 50%, say, of all nations have banned crypto. That gives them the strength to band together an implement trade santions against those nations that have been reluctant to ban crypto. Soon, all nations have banned crypto. Therefore, getting crypto banned in a single country, especially such a powerful and influential one as the USA, is an important first step to getting it banned everywhere.

Re:Thank you (4, Interesting)

flatrock (79357) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357696)

Tell them that security research is not cracking, that cracking is not terrorism

I agree that security research is not cracking.
Cracking is not terrorism in most cases, but if you crack some critical systems, it can get people killed. And though it doesn't rise to near the level of terrorism where people are killed, crackers who cost lots of innocent people a lot of time and money just to make their point or for the fun of it are still scum.

if you don't take the time to properly secure your systems, you need to take some liability!

People who don't secure their systems should take some responsibility for their lack of action. I think liability is the wrong word, because to me it infers that they deserve to be hacked. They don't. They have a responsibility because their lack of security can allow their system to be used against others. Trusting people that don't lock up their valuables don't deserve to be robbed. People that choose not to arm themselves don't deserve to be attacked. Defence against many forms of attack, including cracking may very well be a good idea, but lack of it does not imply guilt on part of the victim.

I strongly support free speech. I think that crypto laws requiring back doors, or making crypto insecure for the common person are wrong, and would be ineffective in their goals.

As part of supporting free speech, I am strongly against malicious cracking. Worms, viruses, trojans and the like do a lot to harm innocent people who just want to get online but don't have a lot of technical knowledge. The internet is a great tool for free speech, and it shouldn't be kept from them just because they don't know how to properly secure their home computer from malicious attacks of others. If the govenment ends up passing harsh legislation which inhibits our freedom to protect such people, it is the crackers who deserve the lion's share of the blame, not the people who got cracked.

I understand that in order to improve security, security needs to be tested. I also understand that in order to get vulnerabilities fixed, that security issues need to be made public. The way they are made public could often be handled better though.

If you really wan to stir some feathers, then remind them of the declaration of independence - "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security"

You may stir up some feathers with this, but I doubt you'll help your cause. I agree that as a last resort, revolt is actually a responsibility of an american citizen. But only as a last resort, and only for the good of the country.

I realize that I made some comparison between terrorism and cracking in this post, and I want to state that I don't want to trivialize the problem of terrorism with this. Terrorisn is crime that far outshadows cracking. Malicious cracking is more of a petty terrorism in which lives aren't lost.

PGP aint the only technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357531)

who cares what usa does, you think someone in St Korea cant make something equaly as good? or in france? or norway?

He should just shut up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357533)

Him and all the other paranoids imbeciles in the
US who have whined on about their "rights" to
100% privacy so the nasty (democratically elected)
government can't snoop on their email. How many
more people will have to die before this childish
1960s obsession with the government being some
clandestine organisation hell bent on oppressing
its citizens finally goes the way of the dodo.
If any of you morons really believe you live in
an oppresive state go live in afganistan and you'll
find out what oppression really means.

If PGP was used in the setting up of the WTC
terror then Zimmerman has blood on his hands
whether he likes it or not.

Re:He should just shut up (0, Troll)

sanermind (512885) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357558)

You are pure evil. The government, and all governments, have long had a tendancy to oppress their citizens. The founding fathers of this nation discussed this with candor.

Thus, to imply that having suspicion in regards to the state seeking greater powers to constantly surveil and police it's citizenry, [just in case they might be up to no good] is unamerican... well than, you have entirely missed the founding principals of this country, which have served to make it so great.

You insult the blood of patriots who died to protect your liberties, to so readily be willing to give them up.

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357573)

Oh spare me the cod patroit speech. Were these
the same patriots who systematically murdered
native americans and stole their lands??
As for liberties you clearly have no concept of
the balance that must be struck between civil
liberties and effective policing but then you're
probably just another dumb teenage who wants to
stick it to anyone over 19 (ie all the government). Grow up.

Another dumb teenage opinion: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357650)

Well, duh! It's all America's fault. We should pull out of Saudi Arabia and make reparations towards the Palestinians.

Then those nice Muslims will leave us alone and stop killing our civilians...

Won't they?

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357660)

Very common for Native Americans to exercise ritual torture on all settlers they captured. Comanche, Apache, many others. Lots of folks saw the hacked up and burnt remains of their children and started getting pissed off.

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357674)

I guess that makes genocide ok then.
Incidentaly is that what the crime of the black
slaves the "patroits" exploited was to deserve
their lives of misery?

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357681)

Perhaps the natives wouldn't have got so pissed off if a bunch of europeans hadn't sailed along and tried to take their land. If the settlers couldn't get it by bartering they had a habit
of just taking it by force. I'd love to see what
you'd do if a bunch of strangers showed up and settled in your back yard and claimed it as their own.

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357688)

Simple. We wait until they blow up a National Landmark and then nuke the fuck out of them.

Are there Muslim immigrants in YOUR town? They might be sleeper agents, ready to enact foul acts of barbarism against the very country that gives them shelter.

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357686)

having suspicion towards anyone is a bless. it's your only way of making things better. keeps you smart, and awake (as opposed to rest in peace, if you know what i mean).

when you say about blood of patriots died you mean my relatives that died in order to let you think freely and have the right to dare to suspect whomever you want (nomatter his job or state/position) or you mean yours (in that case i hope you know what they died for, and you'll explain us)?

Re:He should just shut up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357659)

Why is this a troll? Do the moderators assume that everyone who reads this board has exactly the
same opinion as them? I happen to agree with the guy.

Kuro5hin's out of money... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357534)

I guess Taco's happy, as they [] were his closest competitor.

Re:Kuro5hin's out of money... (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357571)

Nah, they are running off of a VA server. They genereally can't handle more than 1 GET request per day due to the instability of their operating system's kernel.

feel free to play with my hot button (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357542)

youth tho theckthy mithther commanther thacko, thtick your corncob up my cornhole.....there ya go thweetie

Re:feel free to play with my hot button (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357721)

LOL! Very funny stuff. Thanks for brightening my day.

use of word jihad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357543)

jihad != holy war

jihad == troubled times/problems

Re:use of word jihad (3, Informative)

nlvp (115149) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357768)

Really? I read yesterday that it meant "Holy Struggle", but that it could be applied as equally to the struggle against temptation as it could to the struggle against religious oppression, and that this was the source of the ambiguity surrounding the use of the word.

But just 'cos its written don't make it right, so I may be wrong.

fukshitup (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357545)

break any window. killa cop.
puncture all tires. litter
sloburbia. open hydrants. burn
bldgs. scatter nails. glue
locks. dose h20. clip phones.
plant indo. graffititall. t.p.
streamers. cyanide the vents.
burn down bldgs. cancel
technokratz. destroy private
props. kill the rich. disrupt
public service. send bomb
threats. create panda moanium.
spread rumors. break clocks.
smash tvs. sabothe gears.
d e s t r o y a l l s y s t e m s.
pullallalarms. pranks. tricks.
splatter billboards. sink ships.
clog drains. turn itall off.
shutitall down. busta meter.
j a m it. runamok. tiltit.

Ripping CDs today... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357546)

In one the recent articles about the FreeCDDB situation, Taco mentioned that he used to contribute information to Gracenote's CDDB. After spending all night ripping my CDs to MP3, I was shocked to discover how many spelling errors are in the meta-data, i.e. I have several albums from "Chris Isaak" and one from "Chris Isaack". It all makes sense now...

Thank you (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357547)

I am an avid PGP user under three diffrent Operating Systems. To me there is no better product on the market. I have used it both for personal use and for professional use. I personally can see where a group of people could easily use this product for malitious intent. However, it has saved me quite a bit of heartache as a system administrator in the past and strong encryption in general has made the life of the security minded professional a little bit easier to deal with. I will stand behind not only PGP, but every kind of strong encription that is available on the open market and consider it to be a serious invasion of my privacy to not be able to use it.

I have read the article in the post and agree that it is a well written article with the exception of how Phil feels. Rather the reported was doing it intentionally or not is up for grabs but because of Phil's integrity, I am willing to accept that this was probably just as he has said, the editor changed a few things before it hit the presses. No that is not fair and if he did not say it then there should be a retraction. But I have worked with reporters who have screwed up and retractions are not as easy to get as the story itself.

Phil, keep up the fight and dont give up on your morals. I couldnt agree more that strong encryption is a right of every person on this earth. I couldnt agree more that it will be used for ill-intent. But it does so much more good than bad.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357550)

WHats more important, your privacy of the
lives of 7000 people?

Re:Thank you (1)

Progman (24348) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357556)

Shoudn't we make airplanes illegal then?

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357566)

Don't be a pratt. Once PGP is used the message
can't be cracked. When a plane is flown it can
potentially be diverted from any course of distruction.

Re:Thank you (1)

mikey_boy (125590) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357583)

How would you plan on diverting a plane load of civilians? Shoot it down? you can't efffectively divert a plane if the people in control are willing to die ... so you've still got 100+ dead people.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357615)

The civilians in a hijacked plane will now
probably fight back given that there would be
100 of them and only a few hijackers. It partly
worked on that flight over pennsylvania.
And FYI the government was willing to shoot down
any civil aircraft that strayed too near washington
after the attack. Do try and keep up.

Re:Thank you (1)

mikey_boy (125590) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357758)

You have missed my point. People still die, the only difference is the numbers. And of course, if you shoot them down, there's a chance stuff is going to land on people, unless you plan on asking the nice terrorist to fly over some countryside where they can neatly be blown up

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357753)

Did you fail elementary math or something, you stupid fuckwit?

100+ dead people is bad.

7000+ dead people is far, FAR worse.

Remember that the brave passengers who took over the Pennsylvania flight did so in order to SAVE THE LIVES of countless thousands.

It's amazing how many pampered teenagers would balk at the idea of sacrificing their lives for the ideals of freedom.

Re:Thank you (1)

Progman (24348) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357591)

So the terrorists are just going to stop using PGP because it's illegal? I guess they're good boys after all, they don't do anyting unless it's legal.

Re:Thank you (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357620)

Obviously this argument is a bit above your
intellectual level but I'll simplify just for you:
PGP should not have been written. Now its too late so there's not point making it illegal.
Rearrange these words into a sentence your little
brain can comprehend - bag , cat, the, out, is, of, the

Re:Thank you (1)

Progman (24348) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357645)

What argument? That PGP should be made illegal so that terrorists can't use it? That's what I was replying to. What you're saying is exactly what I said: it's too late. Strong crypto exists, and terrorists will use it if they need to, whether it's legal in the US or not. It looks like you are capable to use an insulting tone to attempt to enforce your opinion, but can't yet quite grasp irony.

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357613)

We're not talking about the privacy of one person but hundreds of millions and their children and grandchildren. You have rights today. Where do you think they came from?

Re:Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357610)

"strong encryption is a right of every person on this earth. "
God almighty. A more out of touch comment I think i've rarely seen. Most people on this earth would be happy
with just the right to have clean water and something to eat , but yeah I guess they really sweat at night
worrying about how they'd encrypt their email if they blew a years earnings on a computer and starved themselves
and their family.

I switched to gpg.. (3, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357680)

I usda use pgp a lot but then it got confussing enough with who owned what and what the licenses were and everything that when gpg came out I gladly switched. I have to wonder how the US expects to remove old copies of pgp, gpg, and similar programs from the Net outside the US not to mention things like books and the knowledge in peoples heads. I think blaming people or trying to put the encryption genie back into the bottle is a bit misguided. We should let these emotions pass before we start passing a lot of laws. Lets not do anything we'll regret later. Lets punish terrorist and not programmers/pilots/etc for whats happened.

Conundrum (5, Insightful)

well_jung (462688) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357548)

Tis very unfortunate that so many of us are so secluded from the greater society that we help run that we can't stop ourselves from from partaking in venemous "activism". Phil put it nicely when he referred to it as a Jihad. For too many of us, our passions and self-confidence get in the way of being responsible members of a larger community.

Re:Conundrum (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357736)

I think that his use of jihad was a particularly bad choice of terms. To associate holding a newpaper accountable for false statements they printed is a far cry from the "holy war" that jihad implies. It attempts to put critisicim of a yellow press on the same level as the terrorist acts that caused this whole uproar. Maybe you don't understand the full implication of the word.

Re:Conundrum (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357763)

If you are like most Americans, the sight of Middle Eastern ragheads and sand niggers make you sick to your stomach. Now there is something you can do about it. The 7-11 convenience stores have a toll-free complaint line. If you have any problem with 7-11, they suggest you call their toll-free complaint number. Well, I am damn sick of all the raghead sand nigger towel head muslim filth working at 7-11 while they are planning their next terrorist attack. Now is the time to call 7-11 and complain. Tell them you want Americans in those stores, and that all the Pakis and sand niggers should get the boot:
Toll-Free 7-11 Raghead Complaint Line 1-800-255-0711
Do your part and send those Pakis packing!

Smells slashdot fanatics... (2, Troll)

Egoine (22800) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357549)

I don't want to be harsh, but this:

"I find this jihad of criticism of the Post to be inappropriate. I
can easily tell from talking with the reporter that her intentions
were good. It is grossly unfair to punish her with all this hate

Smells like slashdot crowd usual reactions to similar matters.

Can't we expect a little more from this crowd?

Can't we have a dialog without having the word "hate" mentionned?

go ahead and mod me as flambait...

Re:Smells slashdot fanatics... (1)

TZA14a (9984) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357598)

Can't we have a dialog without having the word "hate" mentionned?

God, how I hate you fucking hippies...
Anyways, reading the original PZ statement, it really sounded as if he had specifically tried to keep the WP from quoting him that way, and they did. Small wonder people blame them.

Re:Smells slashdot fanatics... (1, Offtopic)

Egoine (22800) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357639)


what's your point? Hate is great, let's all slam each other?

"Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity"

I think it applies here somehow, and just asking for a clarification it the least one can do. When you have it, if it doesn't fit, voice all you can, in a civilized way without going personnal. I'm pretty sure the reporter received "you bitch" emails. You think THAT is deserved? Maybe "you incompetent", but not that.

We already have oxygen and entropy to fight against, we don't need "spontaneous-hate-mass-reactions-without-having-re ad-the-freaking-article".

What we need is (5, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357609)

A link to the advocacy howto [] at the top of the page.

Although, given that we usually don't read articles before going totally non-linear, it's probably unrealistic to expect people to read the howto.

Re:Smells slashdot fanatics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357667)

Don't fret, you weren't being harsh, just amazingly dumb.

Apparently even you can't have a dialog without mentioning the word "hate":

Can't we have a dialog without having the word "hate" mentionned?

If the mail you'd get from slashdot trolls about something they feel that they can be righteous about is not considered hate mail, i'd be surprised to find a better definition.

Re:Smells slashdot fanatics... (1)

Egoine (22800) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357716)

>Apparently even you can't have a dialog without mentioning the word "hate"

:)) I expected that one. I tought that *I* was a loosing my time on slashdot! You actually took the time to reply to this thing you find stupid with an even more stupid thing. And yes, I'm going to be the real looser, because I'm replying to YOU! Go ahead, I'm going to be more looser than you even if you try hard. You aren't even a good looser! :)

hate []

A good example of a mail "about something they feel that they can be righteous" is the 2 emails by Zimmerman. They aren't hate mail, are they?

You think a "troll" is helping the society (or himself, for that matter, if your are into the self centric thing) in any way?

Don't you think he'll _just_ die.

Q: Perfect Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357551)

Hello Mr Zimmermann.

First: If PGP is strong, then what's the use of wiretapping telecommunications?

Second: What do you think of Perfect Privacy [] ?

Re:Q: Perfect Privacy Sucks (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357582)

Mr. Zimmerman thinks that it sucks because it is not available for the Windows platform. He uses Windows exclusively, both at home and at work.

Reaction without thinking (3, Insightful)

Organic_Info (208739) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357562)

Another illustration of mob mentality - reaction without thinking.

If people continue to react impulsively with arguments based on second, third (nth) hand information - what sort of precedence for electronic communication, are we the technologically minded setting?

We are always told as children to listen to both sides of the argument before reacting - hmmm look where we have arrived in adulthood react to someone else's comment about an argument.

Like the saying goes "Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers"

Re:Reaction without thinking (1)

sireenmalik (309584) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357673)

For the first 48 hours after WTC i thought the president of America was Ted Turner!

Thank Lord they have now started thinking before acting.

Re:Reaction without thinking (4, Insightful)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357717)

The original article [] begins with:

The tears have come in the kitchen, the car and the shower, too. Like many Americans, Phil Zimmermann, a stocky, 47-year-old computer programmer, has been crying every day since last week's terrorist attacks. He has been overwhelmed with feelings of guilt.

Phil is right that "overwhelmed with feelings of guilt" is the critical passage, however, it becomes even more manipulative because of the context in which it is placed. It suggests that Phil's grief was not caused by the attacks themselves, but by his belief that he was somehow responsible for the death of ~7000 people. What Phil is doing now seems more to me like a "Clarify that I don't regret doing it, while not pissing off the WP" strategy (in order to avoid hurting his business). But the truth is, the WP article was extremely manipulative (whether because of sensationalism or malicious intent is irrelevant), and Slashdot was right in pointing that out.

Now, I don't know what kind of letters people have written, and I'm sure some of them were immature, but certainly harsh criticism was and remains warranted. The only thing that is worth emphasizing is that Ariana Eunjung Cha, the author of the piece, likely did not have any bad intentions -- it was the WP editors that made the critical change. As a journalist, I have often experienced that articles by me were manipulated in a way to fundamentally change their meaning, or downplay the importance of certain issues, without giving me any notice of it (in one case of an article dealing with child porn hysteria [] , the whole article was watered down). So the WP deserves much criticism for doing that -- perhaps just a little more focused on the real problem (editors taking liberties to manipulate the essential message of an article) than it likely was.

Some pre questions maybe? :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357565)

Did the government treat you well when they were going after you for writing PGP? Of course it would have been better (and just) if they left you alone. Were they polite in the course of events, or did they make things unpleasant for you?

Thank you for PGP.

The Lesson for today is (4, Interesting)

q-soe (466472) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357589)

I think the thing to take away from any of this stuff is that technology no matter what it is and why it exists can be misused and that in itself is no reason to stop it.

The fact that some of the terrorists might have used PGP is not in itself surprising - they were planning an operation where secrecy is vital and thus they used a secure system - they could have as easily created some code known only to them so the method they used is somewhat irelevant.

The same goes for the planes, they were designed to transport people but they have lots of fuel and become a flying bomb in the wrong hands.

So do we ban planes and crypto software ?

Lets all take a step back from this and look at it in the cold light of day for a minute. Over reaction now will result in long term effects - the US govt has been against strong crypto for many many years - the block on exporting 129k encryption are a case in point - claiming that it might help people commit crimes and hide information, but these are ideas and codes and someone will get them.

So do we ban it ? Why ? isnt it simply arrogance for the US to think that no one else in the world can develop this stuff ? and theres always the secret code devised only for you.

The argument that they might have been able to find out about it is also bullshit, you could disguise this stuff in language so effecitevly you would never get close, so that invalidates that argument.

The fact is the government in the US and in other countries wants to control free access to information and prevent people from hiding it away - the attempts to stop crypto are aimed at their populations - to prevent people from hiding money and assetts, from opposing the government etc

The sacry thing is that as i see the patrotism grow in the US i see a government cracking down on elemental freedoms and toughening laws - computer crime, crypto, etc Whats next freedom of assembly, freedom of speech.

We all need to keep an eye and a ear on the world otherwise what we miss may cost is more than we can ever guess.

I don't understand the people that send... (2, Interesting)

Dog and Pony (521538) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357590)

... that kind of hatemail anyways. Who do they think they are winning over?

I think this was the right thing to do. Since people can't learn to control themselves. Maybe this will wake someone up.

He stated perfectly clearly in the old article that he liked the Post, and he thought it was a honest mistake. What more do you want?

Even if matters were otherwise, you are destroying for yourself by stooping down to the American election campaign level - ie mud pies.

Philip why are you interested in cryptography?? (0, Funny)

IainMH (176964) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357601)

Philip, why are you interested in cryptography??

It seems that no-one understands you anyway so you might as well send everything as plain ASCII!

Professional Criticism (5, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357627)

I can only imagine what the Washington Post and their reporter had waiting for them in their collective Inbox. And from what I've seen online (and not just Slashdot), I'm sure Phil is completely correct in saying that it was undeserved. I feel bad that Phil should have to feel ashamed over the incident.


The Washington Post DOES deserve critism. Phil is very polite to assure that there were good intentions and that facts were presented properly. Unfortunately, good intentions aren't always enough and the facts reported were not entirely correct.

The issue at hand is the reported guilt that Phil felt. By his own account, he had gone to great lengths to ensure that mistake was not made. And yet the mistake was made and Phil's apparent guilt was reported as fact. Why? Because someone at The Post drew their own incorrect conclusion.

I'm all for reporters putting elements togeather to ferret out the truth of a story. Its part of what makes a good investigative reporter. However, in this case someone put 2 and 2 togeather, got 5... and went ahead with it without any fact checking. Surely Phil wouldn't have been THAT hard to contact for a followup (be it in person, voice, or email).

The Washington Post is a professional, world-class organization. Their reporters are professionals with a great deal of power to direct the attention and impressions of issues held by average citizens. Some of which happen to be in our law enforcement agencies, Congress, and other positions of power and policy. Because of this, the Post and its reporters should be held to a high standard.

The Washington Post failed to meet this standard. They should feel ashamed and are entirely worthy of harsh critism.

Even if they're not deserving of hate mail.

Re:Professional Criticism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357745)

Sorry, but I don't see it this way.

The Post reporter knew very well how Zimmerman felt: she talked with him and then had a second exposure when she read him the article.

If her editor changed the story to make him appear remorseful when she knew he was not, then she should have pointed this out.

As far as I am concerned,this is simply another attempt to manipulate public opinion by the media, except in this case, they got caught. I see this all the time with 2nd Amendment issues.

The Post fully deserves whatever they got -- they showed their absolute lack of journalistic integrity and should be called for it.

Re:Professional Criticism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357754)

Short sentences.

Spaced far apart.

They make you cool.

It's true.

FBIrony (5, Insightful)

philipsblows (180703) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357631)

After all of this explosion about crypto and backdoors and limiting the civil liberties of Americans and anyone else we can cause trouble for, it is somewhat ironic (and more than a little tragic) to find that a tremendous amount of information has been gathered through understanding relationships and actions of the perpetrators. This according to the butthead press corps in the US.

This has been pointed out elsewhere, possibly by a congressperson even, but what would our law enforcement agencies do with the tremendous amount of information they are asking to have access to, when they can't properly connect the dots that they already have in plain text right in front of them?

When something like 20 foreign nationals from the same general region of the world get truck driver licenses and apply for hazardous materials hauling permits all within a couple of months of each other, somebody in some FBI office somewhere should ask some questions. There was nothing encrypted in that transaction, and they are only now putting that together.

Besides all of this, bin Laden doesn't even use technology to communicate anymore, having resorted to no-tech messangers to avoid CIA/NSA listening posts. At least that's what our news media is telling us...

Kill Muslims. Kill Mohammedans. Exterminate Islam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357633)

Our beloved dead cry out for vngeance:
  1. Kill all Muslims.
  2. Kill all Mohammedans.
  3. Kill all Arabs.
  4. Kill all Towel Heads.
  5. Kill all Camel Jockeys.
  6. Kill all Dune Coons.
  7. Kill all Islam.
  8. Nuke their countries to hell.
  9. Nuke them again.
  10. Death to Islam.

I piss on Mecca. I menstruate on the Koran. I shit on Mohammed.

Re:Kill Muslims. Kill Mohammedans. Exterminate Isl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357656)

i fart in your general direction

Re:Kill Muslims. Kill Mohammedans. Exterminate Isl (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357678)

I really wish you were in WTC that day instead of all those innocent people that died. Atleast you'd a reason!

What a diplomat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357646)

They helped me when I needed to keep the Justice Department at bay in 1995.

Good people to not piss of in case the need arises again then, eh?

"Jihad" (4, Interesting)

sireenmalik (309584) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357648)

Mr Zimmermann:

I hold you in high regard for your principals and the contributions you have made to the freedom of speech. But I dont think you undersand the word correctly like most other people. I will urge you to watch the CNN's little docu on Islam. As mentioned, in the entire KORAN there are 5-6 references to the word....and mostly the mention is about the battle one fights with oneself!

Uneducated Moslems have been misled by this word. They have been betrayed by people with evil motives. One way the educated community can make a contribution to the cause of anti-terrorism is to really understand both sides of the story. Rather, three sides of the story: yours, mine and the real-hard-truth.

What's the point of the DS? (5, Insightful)

Coot (87864) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357657)

What’s the point of posting the PGP signature if you don't also post the text exactly as signed, including the “begin signed” and “end signed” delimiters. The signature is unverifiable without the precise text that was signed.

No point. Except to look cool.

that's what i think about the Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357670)


Hey, this is the Press speaking:

isn't it unacceptable not to know what other people think when they don't want you to know?

Let's kill anyone who gave people such an option!

These people are a danger for democracy :>
Believe us, we know all about this kind of danger ...

Aren't back doors dangerous? (5, Funny)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357683)

Nice to hear from you PZ.
So how does a government restrict access to a back door?

Version: PGP 8.0.0


Lawmakers should learn from history (4, Interesting)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357702)

The only way cryptography has ever been defeated historically has been to develop a technology that can beat it. For example, the first modern computer was built to defeat the enigma in WWII. If the govt. wants to do this, the proper course is to develop quantum computing. This of course will be very expensive to do, but if the government wants to break current crypto, its the only way. Of course, it would have to be developed in the labs and not leaked to the public.

Put backdoors on current cryptography programs, and you will ensure that only the criminals have real crypto. For more information, see The Code Book [] .

Slashdot and Crypto (5, Informative)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357714)

Dear Phil,

Do you think you could give the Slashdot crew a quick lesson in using crypto? From the way they've posted the last two missives from you, it's obvious they don't actually use PGP or GnuPG and have no clue how to transfer information in such a way that the digital signature remains valid.

I mean, providing a link to the original text file seems to be too hard for them, so maybe you could walk them through the procedure for verifying a document and then ask them to try and do that on their own postings, to see what they are doing to those of us who verify signatures when we see them?

I mean, what's the point of signing a message if no one can verify it? Not that I think Slashdot would lie, but for all we know they've been duped into posting something that isn't from the real Phil Zimmerman. Or maybe their stories are being tampered with-- it's happened to bigger fish recently (and Slashdot itself has been hacked before).


Re:Slashdot and Crypto (2)

Yarn (75) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357741)

Heh, I was going to ask if anyone had tried to verify the text, GPG barfs on it:

gpg: Signature made Wed Sep 26 18:08:57 2001 BST using DSA key ID B2D7795E
gpg: requesting key B2D7795E from ...
gpg: key B2D7795E: no valid user IDs
gpg: Can't check signature: public key not found

I'm guessing PGP7 and GPG don't work together completely.

Re:Slashdot and Crypto (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357772)

Well, in your case you're missing the correct key, which can probably be gotten from or, rather than the default keyserver in GnuPG. But unless your signed message has a header and exactly matches the original signed message, you have no way to verify the signature. In this case we don't know where the message starts, whether it includes the hypertext markup or not, or how the whitespace looks in the original. This makes it hard for the verifying program to work with the message.

was crypto even used? (5, Informative)

mikey_boy (125590) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357731)

According to this [] article from the UK's guardian, cryptography wasn't even used, so it's all bunch scaremongering crap anyway ...

"FBI investigators had been able to locate hundreds of email communications, sent 30 to 45 days before the attack. Records had been obtained from internet service providers and from public libraries. The messages, in both English and Arabic, were sent within the US and internationally. They had been sent from personal computers or from public sites such as libraries. They used a variety of ISPs, including accounts on Hotmail.

According to the FBI, the conspirators had not used encryption or concealment methods. Once found, the emails could be openly read."

PGP is not to blame (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357751)

The Guardian Unlimited has a nice article which sums up a few views on encryption and the WTC attack:,1361 ,558371,00.html [] . Basically it says the terrorists did not use strong crypto and had good reasons not to do so.

civility from Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2357752)

It is grossly unfair to punish her with all this hate mail. It's embarrassing to me and damaging to her.

What does Zimmermann expect? This is the Web site that thinks it's okay to steal [] when someone else has stolen from you first.

What I don't understand is.. (4, Insightful)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357757)

Terrorists are not going to use encryption with backdoors when non-backdoor encryption is already available. The only people that are going to use it are the law abiding people, the same people who are not going to be terrorists.

And besides, all of Osama's communications weren't through high-tech means [] but also low-tech. When the someone figures out how to trace one of Osamas high tech communications, he will just switch to a low tech form.

Media and conspiracy (5, Interesting)

joss (1346) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357764)

> People seem to be assuming the Washington Post is part of some grand conspiracy to restrict the availability of strong cryptography.

No, it's not a conspiracy, but it is a symptom of a much deeper problem. The fact remains that the paper blatantly misrepresented Phil's opinions in order to further the current agenda of cracking down on civil liberties. This distortion is not a coincidence, but it's not deliberate either. In fact, it's scarier than that. People who are sufficiently indoctrinated hear what they want to.

We don't need any controlling evil mastermind to produce the appearance of a conspiracy. All we need is a set of implicit and unstated tendancies where most people do what they think ought to be done, and the mass moves inexhorably in a particular direction, irrespective of a few free thinkers trying to throw a spanner in the works. This group concensus serves the interest of those in power (the rich, via corporations, media - which is corporate owned, and politicians - who are also corporate owned), and pushes the rest of the population in that direction.

Mainstream media is even more laughably distorted than normal at the moment. Suddenly the media is full of convenient statistics "80% of US population favors back-doors in encryption". And what percentage of the US population has any idea what the hell that means ? What was the queston "Do you favor laws that make it harder for terrorists to communicate in private ?" or "Should it be illegal for people to try to stop others from monitoring their communication ?"

Corporations and politicians have a vested interest in eliminating free speach from the population. They don't want you talking to each other, they want you listening to them. They definitely don't want you saying stuff to each other without them being able to monitor it and punish you for saying stuff that makes them uncomfortable. The real reasons for the desire to restrict and monitor may not even be apparant to the "group mind", but everyone has a huge capacity for self-delusion.

The media is just as accurate about other stuff. They laud George Jr's "bravery" without a trace of irony, like the jester in the Holy Grail "When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled...." Meanwhile the cowardly terrorists were cowardly
giving their lives for their beliefs. Fanatical assholes, sure, but cowardly ?

The distortion is much worse than you think. The entire language is adjusted in a thoroughly Orwellian fashion. When people on our side die, the "terrorists" cause the "murder of innocent, men, women and children". Fine, this is accurate. However, when we do start beating up on Afghanistan. "Military commanders" will replace "terrorists" and "inevitable collateral damage during surgical strikes" will replace "bombing civilans". It's very difficult to reason about something when the terms are properly loaded.

The language molesters will be hard at work over the next few months. The funny thing is that when we hear blatant distortions in the other direction, (eg "The great satan") we laugh at the stupidity and talk about how these people have been brainwashed into believing all sorts of nonsense. Yeah, "they" hate us because they're jealous and they're victims of brainwashing and propoganda. Meanwhile, we're going to destroy civil liberties, escalate corporate welfare (through "defense" spending), slaughter innocent civilians and risk our own soldiers fighting people across the world who previously had no serious quarrel with us, because we're all well informed and logical.

Is this really Phil? (1)

RazorJ_2000 (164431) | more than 13 years ago | (#2357769)

That "response" from Phil has the aura of a legal form letter around it. Hey Phil, did the lawyers from the Washington Post scare the shit out of you? It sure does look like it. You tempered your words and carefully chose them in such a manner that I question the origins of this "response".

C'mon big guy, did they make you sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as well? Are you restricted from saying that they twisted your arm? C'mon Phil, what's the real story?

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