Just a tiny bit about freedom and cryptography

I’ve read a note by some guy at forum/blogging web site called PlanetCrap. Its an old one and the discussion isn’t relevant so I won’t put up a direct link (and the content on that site is pretty bad), but this one guy said:

True, but encryption laws in the United States have been written so it is impossible for terrorists to use an encryption scheme that the government cannot break if need be.

Which is something I hear often enough to trouble me – the problem is like this: A lot of countries have anti-cryptography laws, including here in Israel (although its been update recently so you just can’t invent new and stronger ciphers, instead of outlawing current strong ciphers like the Americans are stupidly doing).
The premise of all anti-cryptography laws is something like this: “We are going to outlaw the lawful exchange and use of strong cryptography algorithms because we don’t want them to be access by “bad people””. Which is inherently incredibly silly!

If the “bad people” are so bad, they don’t mind these stupid laws. They are probably planning on doing something much more serious then transgressing on some anti-cryptography law, and performing one more offense (its not even a crime – its an offense) probably isn’t going to stop such unlawful people from getting their hands on whatever encryption algorithm they want.

The only people that are hindered by such laws are lawful citizens that will not want to break that law because the consequences are serious for them. Worse – such a law only affects citizens in the same country, so what this law is good for ?

  • It will not help local law authority to access communication between criminals
  • It will not help intelligence agencies to access communication between enemies of the country

It has only one effect – letting government agencies access legal communication of lawful citizens, something which it should have no business in doing.

2 Responses to “Just a tiny bit about freedom and cryptography”

  1. Arik:

    It has been said before and will again:

    When cryptography is outlawed, only outlaws will have cryptography

    — Arik

  2. Elad:

    It is again the american tendency to overcomplicate things and to think everyone shares their viewponts. Just like Al-kaeida didn’t need supreme technology to conduct their 11/9 attacks, only some knives and determination, both of which existed 3000 years ago, no terrorists need the ultrasophisticated modern encryption schemes. All it takes is a bit of innovation, of which they have plenty. It is very typical for the americans to try and block this encryption threat – you can easily gain political support and show you are doing something, no matter how unnecessary and/or ineffective it is. Much easier then dealing with the real problems. That’s politics.

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