The Heat Came 'Round and Busted Me For Smilin' On A Cloudy Day
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There's a cryptographically signed version, too.
There is a war coming on general-purpose computing. It starts with, of course, forcing child pornographers to provide evidence against themselves and fighting terrorism. We have progressed into demanding a scientist’s telephone and passwords at the border, demanding access to citizens’ social media, and using log files from a person’s implanted medically-necessary heart monitor to indict them. It creeps in as Hollywood and the RIAA search for ways to make your web browser obey them, rather than obey you.
General purpose computing is essential for freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. Only if you can trust your computer—only if your computer obeys you alone—is it a reliable means of resistance. Compromised electronics can be used as means of surveillance, blackmail, identity theft, and other terrible compromises. Strong cybersecurity and the ability to freely encrypt is essential. Moreover, as electronics become further integrated into human identity, their compromise amounts not just to the compromise of the unchangeable biometric data that might be used to unlock your phone, but to the compromise of the self. Indeed, I already anthropomorphize my computer as… me. I browse the web. I check my email. I post on Facebook. The computer is a transparent medium for the projection of my will and identity.
There is some concern that strong encryption poses a challenge for law enforcement, and that therefore we need some kind of compromise. You hear complaints about “going dark”. You hear police departments and the FBI make suggestions that we come up with alternative encryption standards that can be broken with a warrant. You know who never makes these suggestions? The NSA. NIST. The experts. The mathematicians who study, design, and attempt to break cryptosystems all agree that any possible government mandate for access simply provides a route for hostile attack. If you roll your eyes when people deny climate change, remember that searching for political compromises around encryption is literally math denialism, and the foundations of mathematics are substantially stronger than those of climate scienceI'm not trying to undermine climate science with this comparison. . Moreover, there’s the gun control analogy: if strong encryption is criminalized, then only criminals will have the protection of strong encryption.
So what can be done? We can adopt widespread encryption across the internet. We can make security-conscious design decisions. We can adopt free software whenever possible and recognize that its motivating principles are aligned with social justice. We can use encrypted communications channels by default even when we don’t need security, to help obscure those who do. I donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, and the Internet Archive. We must adopt the mindset that even though we might have nothing to hide, we value our privacy. We can insist that our politicians embrace cybersecurity rather than attempt to fundamentally undermine it. We can value our metadata.
Public key cryptography is a method by which you can encrypt a message with a public key, but that same key cannot be used to decrypt it—for that you need the private key. This is an excellent tool for establishing a secure channel across an unsecure channel. The private key can be used to encrypt a message that can be decoded with the public key, providing a cryptographically secure signature. This is signed with my public key, and the cryptographic signature is at the bottom.
My PGP public key, which I generated in 2013, recently expired. In the four years that passed since it was first generated, nobody ever needed it. Nevertheless, here is my new one:
- -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- Comment: GPGTools - https://gpgtools.org mQINBFiXd4EBEADBiwJZ2K4ZalXfbkxvjYKgxlG97uWiDXSetyNIV8+yvVmYgH5r jeZ1KeL/WQq3WbCj0r0bRXZ97JeSIliVh6fg7yuPXvHZLkzGYNWKpKpcQXsjEOMM G4Ov2Wdkadp2f8VsDB4aw42oSRhpNmDyD49j/kiMknDUcIGd+fc2paAjta9uE6r8 PD1PW6kfVtwDds6adncwbQtJdVCL/hqFzOo8Pj22KpMJnCkl3XcxXByiaRaYXH/h jzqJncc/kb7/z1O5kaRNepLJDJ40vzwaXmBdDMRZnlhDuqMlRBwDnRYR5ZkX/8aj BOsTLMDypfJDNXgsbm0akT4nFzDVBYOGgRPhoRP2NIpdhXaqhVyVfcOxOt/e6iSY e7WV81i7ObO5NG7OA1fzQGauhQsqBjgWh85FE3KKY1DrqvPR44wHyn5yIA0i1Xn9 /Km/drTotLU08Rn3UXkC0zE0okng+VLbER1wU8wROyTS+DYmW4oa5wvLJTkJEzkR 4NPn3vwUao4hX6VxKjJe0xYWJJxqMtBq402jIdVs3/8lnU94R0vT4PV0knPMQ8HB ZTzN24aH81Db4+PQLVmHehbRqXRVBda8maUFrzZQ+8aRzcudKoTMbzdpy2MpDw0B 3YBGcmGBod+LU1t++xFYpEI5TOD9TSub9JJKC8LpTEdSWYrYQHsFS8syzQARAQAB tClFdmFuIEJlcmtvd2l0eiA8ZXZhbi5iZXJrb3dpdHpAZ21haWwuY29tPokCPQQT AQoAJwUCWJd3gQIbAwUJB4YfgAULCQgHAwUVCgkICwUWAgMBAAIeAQIXgAAKCRB8 gsW1RnKnhDHLEACJrzQiIJ900MhCGmdKSeLIpHtBXgG95Lt4iRixSJG+SKi/PL1Q ZgEHKooQRG7JQ4+XabdxiNW95OAiQ2+XkT+Bo1/Zvc1UaAF2kdxohhSWH2rRiqg4 qQB3QI7SNFa2n0YwxDV8hkZxhJ/1ETomYn3sut7M1u5O3tCGyTRzOAgWxZ6/2Mkz broQ7vh15z1gkFm2XfeHt2kWKzOeWWjC2z8ilCDA+he0kylD0+OF2T/IGuhV08b3 Ao1pRb9ddjhJYOjQyW/ZtgwMjwJQk9t92C4PTO0NR40u8gD2AutODf6ufpMtHNJC +yhgSXGo00FW1alButsFVB/RxhIW+gD2CEgnmp150mnp89ZZsLKQEm1b42pA3ZDo 7j0teXHgf0DUPPqF3Ld39WcPDWBKVdukWCocHhNTyDDLilMcZfttko8PkjM6y86y dpI9hAbDDQj5RLe5yvXTlG47RAAToqpnjOP6eQLpZzdvk+T1xTM6gn5tnkk08Ypk +33iL3v+iiU/e13Wldg8kJ7dFsyasZtNe44oWuHZCejpiE0y1lDzdUyhgmm6JsJ2 UaPXbQyx0Sf0P1e4cyjTvyeqU4OqVFI1gj+Y7Je1JIy99k6pk98rVnc64uD+fkMQ pquEbhzymMAgu8b/h3VqoY6hCzzuZqZ/JkRzBT03GmAXMlajOGbXmWCn+bkCDQRY l3eBARAAr5KUgWOwyttDltb3wd/dyBSFVIq5t+vLjd6w+CbtnMYls/Sue4rozHWt DiXx+c7Qk4Vxzkdfj/i/l+E9P09uFSru5ZAVPbLVdcHgccO+gPhzcXGXXDjxpxMw zg54k0oQGSMTKtKZNINiC7V4On3VRtemOnqhMpfKj5cBZY/nTfN1RHXeGohQfc6e cqKbEGo8I3DLP3aalnXIKh1DVZD9bCwii8fdLtiTqkG92q3Z0d7Se9wOO6lglfqg xQdbjsKG6xcTPvsZjQZZxQnjYmOChuzW1VFAcPUyBCaXPPmfi7w8nWS5kPaNiKQ/ sPwu16+fq/U7RSBvyDLzs97mlTm2MU0T5Azre+T6Njd02bLfnBIbtGNI6S5uD7QC U/SkH+w7hNh8lFT4GI2gbxbeRXuJzCJtYSFaefrIdu9lzBXbT4aEvCf9PtUjFTa/ RIeBW0aLj8k31ERpxaZaud5RobmWfHCHgOTclNdxH00lP6n1ila8L2aEJA+VJRXP 22Q0eCoXwSknHlmjePU/pN5BGA98cAO0W5z31jYjE+JoA0yavi7CabkgNCc3VGBb BUhEyaWe+SlLlBXlMrxgc+HE+ZvmFE+re72YXNMMUIC16kXRs/OYHA+RhN7Kvpc+ Au0Gv2DmIEPHJCCVx5CrdUyiuKBfUatHioT75u0LbBXMMB9o2RUAEQEAAYkCJQQY AQoADwIbDAUCWJd4iAUJCWdUBwAKCRB8gsW1RnKnhEhPD/9hvxCVJlbJrOo4HVKd WQc4RlFKKogzmF/g2rO2TgsPKfsgSeKpaXomg6LK0j+YTMx9uC6RdByzYo+TSjj5 l9lybcISGT+bAu+L2Hg7sJZHLN3Gg8ceQa8x3vxNOsabs4lm+8g78E55p+dALbbA G36/8daSRIFvJKQVH5aoveWh0jDoB749vB7GipxTh3Hpfm1MjuqA2OVECDXvbQeJ LxDFcng0aqze7tB7FeYOfO8mqEsqRjeV40zB0xwdQI10+oq/3pZsIkXV/x6MkNlG l4xKZUzHLdGwed4MGPIvNqHOK37CYeRJFa/usPQyEq1Zvu7lwYz19quuZLPKabRO HcwiU70VhlkQNAb+5Vv69o1sjQhMPyZHvWXL+lcF72jdA1t/+TOiNm1bfSNO3usH mji7TsrkdX/vTqgSwgTQoiFyTznL7U+LL1ARX8JRy2KIjdR/tu6l0AW++K5tb7Y9 3ZFviODrGvlu5LVTumIw9yWWf2doyilVIPAOlEW7Lx/6HIKuNdQa/O79gW1Tx+BA YoKBG3B7G5m+jbtSWESEjwZsD7Uimlz8pGrub6DNr63MJ475pU48Eg4Yg0LQIW+T 6hxuSu6qbnmLDv+l2cN1QPw6E/OX1r7lwW2I+hlNwQ8BsliHqz/b7OkMw3McDGzP EcZVXqp6VKgnf6HhD31PcaY54g== =5hH1 - -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
It has fingerprint 7171 57C8 50B6 0C96 FB21 C9EA 7C82 C5B5 4672 A784. The private key is… just kidding. You can verify it on any of the public key servers—I default to the MIT key server.
The current situation is a nightmare come true. We must value and defend our civil liberties. We must put our foot down, or imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
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