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    Perhaps as a futile counterpoint, read the linked thread here

    https://twitter.com/thegrugq/status/1325695187750846464

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      Especially this tweet: https://twitter.com/andreasdotorg/status/1325740593792823297

      This is a legislation fast track.

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      Do governments actually not understand that it’s impossible to have strong encryption with back-doors which are only usable by non-corrupt law enforcement? Or do they understand that they’re asking for a world without encryption and just not care? What’s actually going on here?

      Protecting the privacy and security of communications through encryption and at the same time upholding the possibility for law enforcement and judicial authorities to lawfully access relevant data for legitimate, clearly defined purposes of fighting serious crimes, in the digital world, are extremely important.

      Do they actually not understand that “protecting the privacy and security of communications through encryption and at the same time upholding the possibility for law enforcement … to lawfully access relevant data” is literally impossible? That you can’t build an encryption system where it’s impossible to break the encryption unless you’re breaking it “for legitimate, clearly defined purposes of fighting serious crimes”?

      This is literally legislators asking the tech sector to draw 7 perpendicular red lines with green ink.

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        Do they actually not understand that “protecting the privacy and security of communications through encryption and at the same time upholding the possibility for law enforcement … to lawfully access relevant data” is literally impossible? That you can’t build an encryption system where it’s impossible to break the encryption unless you’re breaking it “for legitimate, clearly defined purposes of fighting serious crimes”?

        Schemes with “lawful interception” built in exist and are researched by Universities and places like INRIA. Admittedly, they do rely on the assumption that service providers and law enforcement are “private and secure”, but the first is just a mental jump and the second is a question of 200 page of paperwork for a certified data center. After that, you special case military and intelligence use. Done.

        So, Governments don’t need to understand the impossibility. They know of the possibility, if they enforce a policy. Also, this isn’t targeted towards you or me or someone sending OTR-Messages over XMPP. This is targeted at platform providers controlling the key scheme.

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          I would guess that the expectation is to have somehow a copy of the encryption key shared with the gov. Ugly and terrible, but not necessarily impossible I think. idk not really my area of expertise. I imagine that some standard endpoint at the ISP could be enforced, and then used by your EU modified openSSL … Perhaps $gov hands you a pubkey, with which you encrypt a copy of your keys and share with them on creation, in an abstracted & opensource implementation of the crypto lib?

          I’m actually curious to hear how’d you all implement something like this. Just saying that not all legislators are idiots.

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            And with federated (or even true peer-to-peer) systems you’d ask the suspect that is under investigation to please send out the keys to law enforcement?

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              I’m saying that if you mandate to tweak the key generation libraries to ship the EU government an encrypted copy of the key, in few years this might actually become a reality. But again I’m not an expert in this area it’s just that impossible it’s a big statement and I’m curious to understand why.

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                It would be trivial to send a different key to that registry than the just-created one. It would also be trivial to dedicate a box or three to generate keys nonstop for storage in that facility.

                More likely scheme: apps encrypt messages against two keys, one of which is stored with the service provider (and has to be released upon request). Which brings us back to the question what happens when the service provider and its user is the same person.

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              The NSA is unable to keep is secret keys (see ShadowBroker), so why should anybody else. If the Austrian government can access it, then so will China, Russia, and North Korea eventually.

              Also, the usual pattern is to introduce such laws against terrorists and child porn. Once it is available, it is mainly used against small crime like low level drug dealers and activists.

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                Once it is available, it is mainly used against small crime like low level drug dealers and activists.

                (My emphasis).

                What part of the EU treats activists as criminals?

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                  Many states in Germany revised their police laws. It course, police wants more rights for surveillance. The main arguments are terrorism and child porn. This is fine. Politics is all about sorting out the needs of different stakeholders.

                  Meanwhile environment activists were squatting the Hambacher Forst, a forest. Turns out, politicians were already plotting to use the new police laws against the activists. So the law was not yet done and its use case already shifted to activists.

                  (With the keyword “Hambacher Forst” you can find plenty of german articles but i find nothing in english)

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                    (With the keyword “Hambacher Forst” you can find plenty of german articles but i find nothing in english)

                    When looking for Hambach Forest, you’ll find a lot. I stumbled over doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.09.018 which also features statements like: “The Hambacher Forest occupation (and surrounding areas) has been under ‘long-term surveillance’, as authorised by the Aachen district court (Hambacher Forst, 2016c). Both police and mine security have a constant presence around the occupation and use video cameras to document activists (WDR, 2016).”

                    Hambach Forest, activists and surveillance, all in one paragraph ;-)

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                      Thanks for this, very interesting and concerning :(

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              provide for a secure communication environment, especially through quantum encryption

              Please let it mean post quantum cryptography. Please let it mean that.


              A reasonable sounding paper, but could ultimately be self contradictory. It looks like they’re doing their best not to piss off anyone, from the cypherpunks to the authoritarians. Personally, it’s their repeated notion of “balance” that scares me the most: it demonstrates a willingness to sacrifice some privacy at the altar of security. (Others would be scared for the exact inverse reason…)

              I think we should approach it in a principled way, the same way the Free Market™ is limited by some inalienable rights: for instance, we cannot (legally) sell ourselves to slavery in most countries. Many other countries forbid the sales of organs, though donation is permitted. Note how not every legislation or culture agree on whether the limit really is.

              Regarding communications, I believe the first principle should be no mass surveillance. I don’t care how we achieve this technically or legally. But the potential for cheap mass surveillance probably only has technical solutions: if cheap mass surveillance is possible, it can be done behind the voter’s back. If it’s expensive, it will show.

              The only way I know of to stop cheap mass surveillance, is pervasive end to end encryption (with no backdoor). This means that we should let that proliferate, and mandate that big centralised operators deploy it so they can’t cheaply spy on their own users (if this means ads are less effective, so be it).

              Would that stop targetted surveillance? I don’t think so. Note that, as critical targetted surveillance may be for police work, it is only supposed to start from prior suspicions, for two reasons: the first is due process, and the second one is cost: targetted surveillance is expensive, so it necessarily limits itself to high-value targets (whether “high value” means the biggest criminals or the scariest opponents is another matter). Prior suspicion can’t reasonably come from mass surveillance, not only because mass surveillance itself is a no-no, but also because of the sheer number of false positives a nation-wide pattern matching would generate.

              Now if the police has suspicions on someone, they can still tail them, question them, infiltrate their circle, read their public discussion… what someone writes on public forum is easily found, and can yield heaps of relevant information. For instance, the timing of this post indicates that I’m not exactly working at the moment (no matter, it’s my day off).

              They want to find the right “balance”? Use targetted surveillance, and only trigger it with probable cause. Would that mean more criminals would get away? On average I suspect not, especially if you reassign resources originally meant for mass surveillance.

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                Please let it mean post quantum cryptography. Please let it mean that.

                The first time I heard the term “lawful interception” was in a presentation around quantum key exchange, in 2010. Don’t get your hopes up.

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                  Apparently they use the attack in Vienna as argument this time - and for that one they already had a bunch of information pointing at the terrorist, but were too stupid/lazy to follow up on it.

                  So yes, they could still tail them and question them but they don’t. In addition to that being real work, it also has a risk of failure while reading other people’s private messages can and will be automated away - and if that fails, it’s the “AI”’s fault not for figuring things out in time, and that still seems to be a great way of diffusing responsibility to levels where nobody is responsible.