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Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority 646

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tap-this-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House plans to deliver a bill to Congress next year that will require Internet-based communication services that use encryption to be capable of decrypting messages to comply with federal wiretap orders. The bill will go beyond CALEA to apply to services such as Blackberry email. Even though RIM has stated that it does not currently have an ability to decrypt messages via a master key or back door, the bill may require them to. Regarding this development, James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology commented on the proposal, saying, 'They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.'"
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Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority

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  • Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:50AM (#33709906)

    Just a few days ago they raid the anti war movement and now right before the election they want to discuss this? This is a politically stupid time to talk about broader wiretap authority!

    • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:55AM (#33709936)

      Seriously? The average voter has NO clue about stuff like this. In fact, they'll probably vote FOR it, if someone calls it anti-terrorist.

    • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:12AM (#33710102) Homepage

      It's them just trying to get Republican votes...just like Democrat politicians are all about equality except for themselves, who require bigger and better things, Republican politicians advocate smaller government...except when it comes to invading your personal life.

      • by Dragon Bait (997809) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:27AM (#33710244)
        Both major parties want to invade your personal life:
        • Democrats want you to smoke weed, but not tobacco (flip for Republicans)
        • Democrats want to censure you from saying "hurtful" words, but want flag burning (flip for Repubs)
        • Democrats want to control what you eat, no more fast food for you (I'm sure Repubs don't want you to eat something)
        • Democrats don't want you to drink soda, but alcohol is a-okay (flip for Repubs).
        • Democrats want you to speak out against the government [unless they're in power] (same for the Repubs)

        The list can go on. Thinking that the Democrats are for personal freedom is outdated thinking. Both major parties are led by totalitarian control freaks.

      • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArcherB (796902) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:59AM (#33710554) Journal

        Republican politicians advocate smaller government...except when it comes to invading your personal life.

        Actually, conservatives, not necessarily "Republicans" simply want the federal government to follow the Constitution, limited by the 10th Amendment. That means less government when dealing with stuff like farm subsidies and corporate bailouts, and could mean more government with things specifically spelled out in the Constitution, like national security.

        Anything not spelled out in the Constitution as a federal government power is a power belonging to the states... period!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rayonic (462789)

      Just a few days ago they raid the anti war movement

      To be fair, they probably think "Well none of our supporters are in the anti-war movement anymore, so everyone left must be the real crazies!"

      (Hm... I know I was just kidding around, but that almost sounds like a brilliantly evil idea.)

    • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:34AM (#33710310) Homepage
      Wasn't the previous slashdot post about "Man gets 10 years for VOIP hacking [slashdot.org]" ? But when the gov does it it's all dandy and fine and necessary and indeed obligatory ?!?
      • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:19AM (#33710780)

        Wasn't the previous slashdot post about "Man gets 10 years for VOIP hacking [slashdot.org]" ? But when the gov does it it's all dandy and fine and necessary and indeed obligatory ?!?

        In our current environment, it is fine and dandy.

        That is the danger of ignoring the Constitution for things that just happen to jive with your goals, and then getting upset when someone else ignores the constitution for something you oppose.

        It's why a liberal or elastic interpretation of our Constitution is a damned dangerous thing. Not because any individual goal is wrong, but our Constitution simply breaks down when you allow it to be interpreted in a flexible manner. It simply wasn't designed to be able to withstand such interpretations. The result is a bit like cutting a hole through a fence that surrounds your yard. It certainly makes it easier for you to go in and out, but it also means that you lose control over who else will use that hole.

        The limitations on power in our Constitution simply fail if it is interpreted as a flexible document. Power should only be granted in very specific and limited ways. Especially when you are granting it to an entity that claims to be sovereign and universal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CrazyDuke (529195)

      Really, who are you going to vote for? Who do you think gave this government the ability to abuse it's power indiscriminately? Who do you think gave the prior government it's abusive power? Who do you think this government will give it's power to?

      Vote any way you want. You'll still get basically the same result, just different posturing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pablo_max (626328)

      Everyday I am reminded of why I got fed up with this crap and left the USA. I served my 4 years in the military. I did my part. America really is like herding cats. Big fat, lazy, ignorant Cats who only care about today's meal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:51AM (#33709910)

    the more they stay the same (or get worse).

  • by stoat (125788) on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:51AM (#33709918)
    At least they are trying to make it legal. I'm sure the TURRISTS won't just use standalone encryption.
    • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:56AM (#33709954)
      FTF (NYT) A:

      No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order," Ms. Caproni said. "They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.

      What hey're trying to legalize is rather heinous on the part of our government. Just because it's been made legal doesn't mean it's right or good. Seriously, between the ability to declare even American citizens terrorists because of what they've said (not necessarily what they've done), the ability to try anyone classified as a terrorist outside a civilian court, and now the "needed" capability to decrypt encrypted messages over the internet...what's to stop whoever is in the White House from 'disappearing' outspoken people they disagree with, without breaking the law?

      I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

      • by martas (1439879) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:02AM (#33710012)

        I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

        Given recent trends, I'd say the opposite - since you value your freedom over a false sense of security, perhaps America isn't for you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        >>>I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

        "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety [until the next tyrant comes along and uses his power to imprison you] deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:56AM (#33710538)

          >>>I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

          "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety [until the next tyrant comes along and uses his power to imprison you] deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

          Way to take that WAY out-of-context.

          Franklin was referring to settlers who refused to use firearms to defend themselves from raids by French-allied native tribes during the French and Indian War (US name)/Seven-Year's War (IIRC the European name).

          That quote is nothing more than part of an anti-pacifism rant. Given that Franklin would later be a leader of an armed rebellion, it's not surprising he vehemently disagreed with the philosophy unarmed pacifists.

          Besides that, you're misusing the quote anyway. Franklin's "essential liberty" was the keeping and bearing of arms by individuals. The "temporary safety" was the settler's false hope that by being unarmed they wouldn't be attacked. Franklin was not referring to tyrants or governments relationship to their own citizens - he was referring to isolated individuals' self-defense ability/responsibility during a war.

          The fact that your two-hundred-fifty-year-old completely out-of-context sound bite get modded +5 is more a reflection of the ignorance of the moderators than anything else.

          • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:25AM (#33711812)

            The fact that your two-hundred-fifty-year-old completely out-of-context sound bite get modded +5 is more a reflection of the ignorance of the moderators than anything else.

            To put that into context, dear Coward, are you purporting that Franklin would disagree with the use of his quote in this manner?

            Are you in fact saying that he held the right to bear arms, ONLY, as essential? Because I'm just not seeing him turning over in his grave over this one. In fact, I'm not even willing to get on board and say that this is out of context, because the concept applies equally well.

            You're essentially saying that "don't hit your brother" is WAY DIFFERENT than "don't hit your cousin", and I, for one, disagree.

          • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:12AM (#33712668) Journal

            The entire context of the quote is the problem that the colonial Pennsylvania legislature of the 1750's was having with Crown-appointed governors, and the then-current governor in particular. He had a habit of not responding to the legislature's requests, and when he did saying that they were at fault for not contacting him earlier. The specific issue was the funding of ammunition and arms for the poorer families on the frontier so that they could fight if they chose to. Those people only wanted the government to help in how they tackled the problem, because they only wanted the government to be involved so far, and no further. They were not willing to give up essential liberties to get temporary safety as the governor always wanted to do things in a way that reduced the rights of the people in exchange for help. He was always looking for ways to make them more dependent on England.

            Saying that this is an anti-pacifism rant is ridiculous. It's nothing of the sort. It's a rebuke to a British Crown-appointed governor who is playing games with the lawful colonial power structure and the people.

            You're the one who is taking the quote out of context and then claiming others are doing it when it clearly is applicable to the situation and has been applied to this type of situation for centuries.

      • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:23AM (#33710216) Journal

        They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.

        What they're trying to legalize is rather heinous...

        I'd call it ridiculous.

        When I read the Caproni quote, I hear: "US Intelligence services aren't intelligent enough to figure this stuff out. You need to do the work for us and spell it out in big block letters. We need it to be as clear as purple crayon."

        So, now might be a good time to really promote PGP and teach people to use it. If the service providers aren't providing the encryption service, they cannot provide the plain text. Anyone who is sufficiently concerned about their privacy can take responsibility for it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by melikamp (631205)
          No, now is the time to promote free software and free hardware, and teach people to use it. PGP is completely useless (worse that useless) if your OS is remote-controlled by someone else, especially since someone else is a US firm with a market position to loose. These clowns will be more than happy to fold over to the government's demands. They are kicking themselves as we speak for not being more invasive on your computer.
      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:33AM (#33710296) Homepage Journal

        I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

        Odd how Obama seems to be becoming Bush, isn't it?

        Illinois has a Governor's race coming up, I'm voting for Whitney. Green Party; Whitney recently suggested legalizing marijuana in Illinois as a way to reduce spending and raise state revenues. The Democrat and Republican are both agast at this stance.

        Sorry, Governor Quinn, I can't support a candidate who is for the continued outlawing of a beneficial plant. California's Governator is right -- there's no difference between most Republicans and Democrats, even though their respective wingnuts are different.

      • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:42AM (#33710404)

        ...what's to stop whoever is in the White House from 'disappearing' outspoken people they disagree with, without breaking the law?

        Legalized assassination of Americans you mean? In fact, they are already doing it [slashdot.org] - it's in court right now.

    • by martas (1439879) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:00AM (#33709988)
      plus, as an added goodie, this will create a vulnerability in all compliant encrypted internet services - now a hacker just has to figure out one master key to break the security of the service. and, once that happens, the service provider will have to incur the probably huge cost of switching to a new master key.
  • by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:52AM (#33709922)

    Now they want to direct all the spy agencies on the new "terrorist" the American citizen. They want to bug our houses, tap our phones, point satellites and drones at us, have informants stalk us, and feed the information back to the local police so that if we break even the slightest most esoteric arcane law we get raided, arrested etc.

    Replace "Obama" with "Bush" and it's "Bush Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority." and the reason is to help law enforcement? Privacy and civil liberties should be given up to help the police put us in jail easier? They have to do a better job justifying the unlimited surveillance powers they claim to need. There aren't that many terrorists, unless they plan on going back to the 60s and raiding all the anti war movement hippy types and Alex Jones listeners who happen to know what encryption is.

    There is an FBI already. There is an NSA already. If it's a national security concern the NSA already can crack the encryption so why do we have to make it so easy that any 2 bit local cop can do it? If it's about national security I'm sure they already can crack most of it if not all of it. If it's about law enforcement then it's not worth the sacrifice. There aren't enough criminals to justify it and most criminals aren't using encryption.

    The only way they can justify this that I can see is with the "It's more efficient, it saves money", unfortunately even if it does save money it doesn't offer anything to the citizen. It doesn't make us feel safer and probably doesn't actually make us safer either. For a lot of us it will make us feel less safe because whenever a person feels under the microscope they usually feel less safe.

    • by rindeee (530084) on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:54AM (#33709934)
      Pack your bags...you've won an all expense paid trip to re-education camp!
    • Natural tendency (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:07AM (#33710056)

      It is the natural tendency of political power to expand and consolidate over time. History has confirmed this over and over again. Like a mega-corporation hungry for more control over the market, government will keep pushing to expand their revenue and power over the people, like clockwork, year after year.

      There's a reason why the elite at the top of the pyramid are swimming in wealth, and it's not because they're satisfied with the amount of control they have over the populace. Government is a business, and like any business, their primary objective is profit. The difference, of course, is that government holds the special right to generate market share through coercion, rather than persuasion.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:37AM (#33710340)

      The really scary thing is just how broad the reach of the NSA really is. I read James Bamford's The Shadow Factory [amazon.com] a while back and was shocked at how little I appreciated what they could (and routinely do) really do. Basically, if you make a phone call to any of the targeted regions (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.), the NSA is recording it--whether it's by cell, landline, or satellite (they have agreements with all the major satellite communications companies). Doesn't matter if you're a terrorist or not, they're monitoring you and archiving all your calls, period (they've even been transcribing the calls of U.S. journalists to their families, prompting at least one operative to quit the agency).

      I was particularly surprised to learn that they routinely monitor the calls of the major UN officials and all the other security council members (they've bugged the shit out of the UN building and associated offices too). During the buildup to the Iraq War, when Collin Powell was getting ready to "make his case" for the war, they were carefully monitoring the calls and emails of all the permanent and non-permanent security council members, including the Secretary-General of the UN himself. They even sent out a memo to the intelligence services of several of our closest allies (the UK and associated countries) asking them to help us out on the spying (though we were even spying on them too). Pretty creepy stuff, especially for anyone who still foolishly doubts that the Iraq War was anything but a foregone conclusion for the Bush administration.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:53AM (#33709930) Journal
    While they're submitting the new legislation next year, a congressional hearing recently heard arguments in favor of this [slashdot.org] and the original NYTimes article notes that it's:

    Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

    Of course, the New York Times article is way better than the Faux News article but my submission this morning turned into a paywall.

    Bad, bad, very bad idea. Every academic says this is stupid, again from the original article:

    Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

    The government is trying to protect us by forcing us to be less secure and more vulnerable. That logic simply does not follow. I'm not against responsible internet wiretaps but this is the opposite of responsible.

    • by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:58AM (#33709962)

      The terrorists will develop their own encryption schemes so using wiretaps would be completely worthless anyway. The mafia is smart enough to outsmart this, street gangs are smart enough, terrorists are smart enough. This is to watch the civilian population like you and me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dyfet (154716)

      The government is trying to protect us by forcing us to be less secure and more vulnerable. That logic simply does not follow. I'm not against responsible internet wiretaps but this is the opposite of responsible.

      Responsible wiretap is not trolling through arbitrary communications simply because it can be done, and this statement I fully agree with. Similarly, the U.S. 4th amendment came into practice not because it was at the time impractical to spy on everyone directly, nor does it end simply because t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @07:59AM (#33709980)

    What I don't get about all this Blackberry-encryption-fuss: if Terrorists really care about encrypting their communications, there are free tools on the interwebs that will let them do so. These tools can not in any way be breached by the government or the service provider. The fact that this is so, is also well-known.

    Thus I am forced to conclude that any terrorist that understands the need for encryption, also understands the need for encryption that he himself has total control over, and thus would not be relying on RIM to secure his communications.

    In conclusion: this will not prevent terrorists from communicating securely. Now, Obama, go back to your health care reform and struggling economy.

  • Clipper Chip 2.0 (Score:5, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:00AM (#33709986)
    Gee, where have we heard these arguments before?
  • Hahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:08AM (#33710060) Homepage Journal

    Hope. Was not that the so called banner from 'Democrats' during their endless waa waa about Bush. Not much needs to be said. Gitmo? Ha. Iraq? Ha. Afganistan, Ha.

    Obama is gone after 4 years, and will be hated by both sides.

    • Re:Hahah (Score:4, Informative)

      by osgeek (239988) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:04AM (#33710610) Homepage Journal

      It just kills me that the voting public is so abjectly stupid when electing the POTUS. They can never see through the campaign rhetoric, the "my team" mentality, and the cults of personality. They fall for them every single time.

      Rather than voting for principled politicians like Kucinich or Ron Paul (or hell, even Nader), the public goes for the flashy salesmen who just tell the voters what they want to hear to get elected. Then they just screw us all over as much as the last guy did.

      So sad...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:11AM (#33710092)

    Hey America,

    How is that Hope and Change working out for you?

    Sincerely,

    George Bush

  • So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:11AM (#33710098)

    how is all this "Change" working out for you?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:12AM (#33710100) Homepage

    I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America... a second coming of JFK. (Yeah, I know there are people who will say JFK was the anti-christ.) But, instead of his promised removal of Bush administrations attacks on our freedoms and privacy, he persisted in it and defended it. Some people said "but this is normal! He is probably reviewing it before he makes changes!" How about now? No? Illegal wiretapping program is still running. And now he wants MORE.

    So, Obama and other players in government HATE our freedom and HATE our privacy and will stop at nothing until both are gone. They make claims of defending and protecting our freedoms while they take them away. They make claims of "terrorists" hating our freedoms, yet the only ones who are attacking them are our own government. ... and still no one cares. We are all too busy trying to figure out how and why we are all getting obese and getting diabetes to concern ourselves with where the government and big business is taking our country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America"

      Why did you think this? Because he said so? Anybody with half a neuron saw through his bullshit. He is a lifelong professional politician. Professional politicians ONLY serve the Almighty State, not the people.

      People like you have destroyed this nation. Gullible, useful idiots like you are more complicit in bringing about fascism than any ACTUAL fascist.

      And many of us will never forget this.

    • by mangu (126918) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:56AM (#33710530)

      I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America... a second coming of JFK. (Yeah, I know there are people who will say JFK was the anti-christ.)

      Politics is like that. The great advantage JFK has over others today is that he was assassinated. Had he not been killed, people would be criticizing him for escalating the US intervention in Vietnam, for starting/bungling the Bay of Pigs incident, for nearly triggering WWIII or for not going far enough in the Cuban missile crisis, and so on.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:57AM (#33710548)
      Actually he *is* a lot like JFK. He's a vastly overrated politician who is ramping up the spying of the CIA/NSA, while being deified by a party that supposedly stands for civil liberties. He's also ambivalent on civil rights issues, sucks up to big corporations, is continuing an unwinnable war, and couldn't give a shit less about the plight of the common citizen. If he were any more like JFK, Marylin Monroe would blow him.
      • by Raenex (947668) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:20AM (#33710792)

        I don't think it's so black and white. If he didn't care about the plight of the common citizen, why extend unemployment benefits? Why push for health care? If he loved big corporations so much, why did he try to publicly humiliate the Supreme Court justices for their ruling on corporate free speech? Whether Afghanistan is an unwinnable war or not is a matter of debate -- Iraq looked hopeless before the surge.

        As for wiretapping, I won't defend him. This is just the Clipper Chip from the Clinton administration all over again. I wonder if any President ever pulled back from more invasive law enforcement.

    • by osgeek (239988) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:17AM (#33710754) Homepage Journal

      I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America..

      The clues were all there before the election. You, "like so many others", just didn't want to listen. You wanted your rock star and you didn't care that he had no experience, ties to some pretty unsavory characters, and no real plusses besides that he was well spoken. The pass that the mainstream media gave him meant that you needed to seek out contrary opinions and journalists if you didn't want to make a poor decision.

      Instead of looking for the next JFK next time, try for someone more straightforward and ethical. I don't care if he's from the left or right of the political spectrum, just elect someone who is smart and has a track record for fairness and following through on his/her campaign promises.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America

      Meanwhile, those of us *more* than six years old knew the new boss would always be the same as the old boss.

      Hope is not a strategy.

      Welcome to Cynicism. It is the only rational philosophy left.

  • by chill (34294) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:13AM (#33710112) Journal

    When (if?) conservatives say "the government should not have that power", what they mean is "the liberals currently in government should not have that power, but it is okay for our side".

    When (if?) liberals say "the government should not have that power", what they mean is "the conservatives currently in government should not have that power, but it is okay for our side".

    Both conveniently forget the problem of not whether YOU will not abuse the power when asking for it, but once granted whether or not those elected AFTER you are gone will abuse the power. For those playing at home, the answer is invariably "YES".

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:15AM (#33710138)
    If the white house and the rest of the government want to continue to litigate our freedoms away, the least they could do is show how these programs actually have caught real terrorists. Because, quite frankly if they can't even show that, they are eroding our rights away for nothing other than more control. There are several reasons why we haven't had a terrorist attack since 9/11 and none of those are thanks to the government.

    A) Natural stupidity. Terrorists aren't exactly smart, remember the "times square bomber" who used as his detonation device.... firecrackers? Yeah, it takes planning to pull off an attack and quite honestly the terrorists don't have that ability.

    B) Passengers in public transit. If you look like you are going to blow up or hijack a plane, the passengers will take you down. Ever since 9/11 people associate hijacking = run into a building rather than the pre-9/11 mindset of "do nothing, wind up in Cuba, get on a plane back home".

    C) Terrorists aren't common. This idea that there are millions of terrorists trying to kill you all the time is laughable and has no basis in fact.

    Granted, these laws are pure BS no matter how many "terrorists" they've caught, but if the government can't even show a single terrorist caught using these, and a real terrorist that could actually cause serious harm, the citizens should strike these laws down even faster.
  • Plain fact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grandpa-geek (981017) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:20AM (#33710176)

    If a user wants unbreakable encryption, it is easy to do. There is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

    Unbreakable encryption predates the modern computer by about a half century. It was invented by the US Army Signal Service for use in World War I. It is commonly called the "one time pad".

    It has to be used correctly, or it becomes breakable. It also has logistics issues. The key material has to be physically transported and physically protected.

    However, the technology is well known and has been for nearly a century.

    Somebody ought to tell our technology-challenged public officials about it.

  • How could this work? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c0lo (1497653) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:23AM (#33710210)
    I mean: if the two parties - terrorists or not - exchange private/public key pairs of sufficient length, no matter who intercept the message will need exponential time to decrypt.

    The genie's out of the bottle already [wikipedia.org]: with Android and a crypto package, any determined person can put together a mail client good enough for a "dark communication" (or find someone to do it... quite cheap, it's like no more than 3-4 men*days worth of work).

    Either they are stupid enough (to even attempt to legislate PI=3) or... what the hell I'm missing from the picture?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      The point of these, and other laws isn't to catch "terrorists" but to put the US in control of the 99.9% of US people who follow the law. Just like gun control isn't going to stop Bob over there from shooting up the neighborhood but does stop Joe from purchasing a handgun to protect himself against people like Bob and also to protect himself against the government.
  • by dyfet (154716) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:46AM (#33710440) Homepage

    I want to be very clear on this statement, on behalf of GNU Telephony. It is not simply that we will choose to openly and publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption directly to the public worldwide as it is needed especially in nations, such as the United States, where basic human freedoms seem most threatened.

    To fully understand the nature of such surveillance and societies, imagine being among several hundred million people who each wake up each day having to prove they are not a "terrorist" by whatever arbitrary means the government has decided to both define the terms of such a crime and whatever arbitrary means they might choose to define you as such. It is a society who's very foundation is built on the idea of everyone being guilty until proven innocent. It is the imposition of an illegitimate society, and one that probably will ultimately require a revolutionary response.

    David Alexander Sugar
    Chief Facilitator
    GNU Telephony

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:54AM (#33710514) Homepage Journal

    The United Arab Emirates, followed by their huge cousin Saudi Arabia, are shutting down Blackberry until RIM lets them spy on its data [guardian.co.uk] in realtime. RIM has been able to argue it doesn't have such a backdoor feature. Obama has the clout to force this Canadian company to create one. And then the Saudis and the rest of their medieval tyranny neighbors will spy on us. They don't need no steenkin' warrants. And neither does Obama, if he personally decides it's a "state secret".

  • by horza (87255) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:55AM (#33710522) Homepage

    As betterunixthanunix says above, we've already seen the abject failure of the Clipper chip in the US. In the UK they tried to pass a "key escrow" bill which would have made it illegal to send anything encrypted without lodging a copy of the key with the government first. Campaigning got this bill defeated several times, and so instead we got RIPA which means law enforcement can oblige you to hand over decryption keys (or you go straight to jail).

    Huge amount of material here:
    http://www.fipr.org/rip/ [fipr.org]

    Phillip.

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:10AM (#33710654) Journal

    First things first: the encryption horse has left the barn so long ago that all traces of the barn's foundation have turned to dust. Any reasonably competent adversary will have unbreakable encryption. The US government has helped with standards like AES, even. A large potion of the 'net traffic is already encrypted - every SSL session is encrypted at the ends of the chain, untappable once it's in the network. Changing that mechanism now into something that can be tapped will recreate the whole key escrow debates of the early nineties. The infrastructure required then was enormous, it would be exponentially harder now.

    The only thing that makes sense is forcing large scale commercial communications companies to escrow keys, so that casual terrorists can have their communications hoovered up with everybody elses, and then analyzed by NSA in their spare cycles. This will catch a few proto-terrorists, I presume.

    With this proposal I have crossed two lines, the first is questioning the governments motives, and the second now questioning their competence

  • by Bob-taro (996889) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:14AM (#33711616)

    ... for the slashdot community. As a part of the conservative slashdotter minority, I came to this thread fully expecting to see most people coming out in Obama's defense on this, or trying to excuse it somehow, but I saw nothing of the kind. Rather than pile on, I'll just say that I admire people who consistently back principles rather than personalities.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:17AM (#33711680)

    And get all your friends to do the same. If enough people start writing in and telling the government that they DON'T want their civil liberties violated, maybe the government will start listening. Especially if you put a couple of bits of paper with pictures of presidents on them inside the envelope...

  • Disingenuous title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:26AM (#33711826)

    I love how the OP gave this article a title of "Obama Wants . . ." (well, the submission used "US President wants. . ."). Not the FBI or the DOJ or the NSA, or even "Feds Want . . ." in order to be comprehensive; but Obama. As if this was some devious idea Obama had while dining on babies, rather than something the law enforcement and national security comunities have been working up for more than a half-decade. Of course he's responsible for the actions of the administration while he's president; but that's a long way from this being part of his nefarious plan for fascism. I looked for the quote from Obama or a spokesperson of his in TFA -- something, *anything* indicating this was an initiative specifically coming from him -- but couldn't find it. Nonetheless, just as the OP intended, 90% of the replies have been about Obama, rather than about the actual regulations. Way to be manipulated, folks. Given this, how unsurprising that the story link accompanying the submission was to Fox News, even though that Fox News story does absolutely nothing more than quote a story in the NYT.

    And to head it off at the pass -- it shouldn't be necessary, but someone here will try it anyway -- I can't stand Obama. I think he's been terrible in a variety of ways. I just also can't stand people who are intellectually dishonest in an effort to score political points.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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