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    See also the Four Horseman of the Infopocalypse, a term generally used to refer to terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and money launderers. The term is often used to justify online censorship, erosion of privacy, and other digital rights.

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      A new law is being drafted which gives the attorney general massive powers to regulate encrypted services under the pretense of combatting child sexual abuse material. The stick that is being used is section 230 protections against liability. It’s hard to fight this without sounding like a CSAM-supporting villain, which is intentional.

      This article is a really solid breakdown by someone with technical and legal expertise.

      Matt Green on twitter responding as well: https://mobile.twitter.com/matthew_d_green/status/1223246416308527106

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        This is a case where trends on the Supreme Court really matter. Recently, the justices have been signaling that they are ready to address the practice of Congress delegating authority to departments. It’s a practice that, essentially, allows those departments (DOJ in this case) to write law as they see fit. If EARN IT passes, it would be ripe to be a test case. It is easy to see how this sort of law that delegates to the AG could be used to bully various companies selectively.

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          Ok what’s your proposal to keep encryption but fight CSAM?

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            Not that I necessarily owe you a solution nor claim I’m necessarily the best person to create one, but:

            Slow down on eroding civil rights (banning e2e and enabling surveillance), and let us researchers work on things like cryptographically-enforceable exceptional access for law enforcement, homomorphic CSAM evaluation functions, and to boost the efficiency of secure multiparty computation to allow for blind privacy-preserving image evaluation. Simultaneously, fight against any law which adds such ridiculous unilateral power, particularly to a non-elected executive position in the government.

            Proposals which build off PhotoDNA et al are dangerous because they make it really easy to derive tools which automatically adjust media to avoid detection and potentially even to generate novel CSAM using generative sampling.

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              OK but all of those amount to “don’t do anything about CSAM right now”. Which you’re right - to anyone not deeply engaged with privacy makes it sound like you’re cool with CSAM sharing.

              The point I’m making is that once something like this (something that as a stated goal is an obvious and universal good), you can’t just say “maybe don’t do that ”. You have to have an alternative solution to the problem that is being put at the top of the agenda. If you really want to head this proposal off, you have to put forward an alternative.

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                “Don’t do anything” is very different than “continue doing the things we’re currently doing, but not this new thing because reasons.”

                You’re creating a false dichotomy. An argument against one proposal is not inherently flawed by a lack of a competing proposal. The criticisms in this post are points where the existing proposal could be improved. Creating new NSF grants in another executive action which could move positive change by supporting the aforementioned research.

                Now, you may be right that the public opinion of the argument against will be negative due to a lack of strong competing proposals, but that’s a very different issue which your somewhat troll responses do not address.

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                  No, you’re falsely assuming that everyone cares about this issue and will bother to read the same nuance into it you do. Which is why Barr will get his way.

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                    I feel like you’re not reading what I’m writing. I directly acknowledged that point:

                    public opinion of the argument against [may] be negative

                    because not only do I know that not everyone cares about it as much, I actually want to help make it so that people don’t have to be concerned for their privacy, because it’s just there by default.

                    Now, I don’t have a perfect solution, if that’s what you’re expecting. If your goal is to help improve my argument here for the

                    obvious and universal good

                    of protecting children while also preserving civil liberties, then I’d love to hear constructive suggestions, solicitor. Otherwise, I’m really not sure what the purpose of your standoffish argumentation is.

                    Barr will probably get his way for a myriad of reasons including the fact that there is bipartisan support for increased surveillance and it’s difficult to get people to call their representatives.

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                      I’m telling you that your argument isn’t even an argument for not banning encryption because it completely fails to address the suddenly pressing need to do something about CSAM.

                      @nickpsecurity gets us to somewhere in the right ballpark of “so actually spend more FBI budget on this first”. That’s something, it’s fairly obvious how it helps, and it’s not nothing.

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              There’s over 10,000 FBI agents with a budget of around $8 billion. The agents and budget assigned to stopping child rapists and pornography is a lot lower. FBI has used many agents on victimless crimes and spent billions over time on bullshit, though. I’m for FBI putting enough resources into those units to make an even larger difference. I’d also love to get a chance to ask a FBI Director on TV why they endlessly talk about pedophiles and kidnappers but put fewer resources into stopping them vs other crimes.

              Must be doing all this for a different reason. For decades, two have been to get power for its own sake and/or to use for reasons entirely different than they state. Usually broader over time, too. For all their lies, I oppose most expansions of power to instead reorganize their current workforce and budget with a big boost in accountability.

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                You’re not wrong. Any ideas for how to get that message out?

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                  I’m better at coming up with the messages than getting them out. I’m both working on that and keeping my eye out for opportunities.

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                I fight child abuse by not abusing children, and if I ever come across somebody who is I’d like to think I might kick them in the nuts before I hand them over to the man. And we keep encryption by realising you can’t make 1 + 1 != 2 simply by legislating it so.

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              The exploitation of children for political gain…

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                Unsurprisingly, it’s a very common strategy and has been for a while: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children

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                  And yet, no one sees it for what it is when sensationalist, knee-jerk laws are proposed.

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                  I have seen this rhetorical device called “pedophrasty”:


                  Definition: Argument involving children to prop up a rationalization and make the opponent look like an asshole, as people are defenseless and suspend all skepticism in front of suffering children: nobody has the heart to question the authenticity or source of the reporting. Often done with the aid of pictures.

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                  1. Of course this is from my senator, Lindsey Graham, who is a rat.
                  2. Of course this has bipartisan sponsorship.
                  3. This could affect the fediverse, depending on the “best practices” that end up being required, even though the fediverse doesn’t have end-to-end encryption; the best practices could require too much labor or expense to comply with.