[cryptography] "stream MAC" - does anything like it exist?

Marsh Ray marsh at extendedsubset.com
Wed Sep 15 04:04:35 EDT 2010

On 09/15/2010 01:37 AM, J.A. Terranson wrote:
> Clearly, your hearing is impaired. Anonymous travel is becoming nigh
> impossible within the United States.

If I have a current plate on my car, a driver's license in my pocket, 
and money for gas I can drive just about anywhere I want. Every few 
years I might get pulled over for a burned out bulb or forgetting to 
renew my tag, but no one expects an ID otherwise. Hotels and airplanes 
have always required ID for obvious reasons.

I haven't noticed that much outward, objective change in the past few 
decades, except that the police and highway patrol (especially in rural 
areas) are likely to be better trained and more consistent.

That said, there's been a huge increase in the number of fixed cameras 
watching the roads. It's likely that many traffic cameras are reading 
and recording license plates. In my town, the patrol cars have cameras 
pointing every direction which recognize stolen (and recently expired 
:-) license plates. There are enough fixed traffic cameras around town 
that they never really need to chase anyone with lights and sirens like 
they used to.

To what extent this data is recorded, retained, and centralized I don't 
know. It's probably a fair guess that more data is collected than can be 
efficiently searched, yet few entities can bring themselves to throw it 
away either. Eventually, it revenue-hungry states and municipalities 
could try to monetize it by selling it to private entities such as 
insurers, marketers, and credit bureaus. Genuine concerns over "identity 
theft" have cut down on some of the enthusiasm for the sale of 
government records in recent years.

The public debate about this data collection isn't really happening for 
a couple of reasons I can think of. First, the early groups who began 
objecting to the odd camera here and there tended to discredit 
themselves by mixing it in with a general paranoia of the federal 
government and international organizations. Also it's usually not 
acknowledged who's receiving the surveillance feed, much less what their 
data retention, information sharing, and privacy practices are.

So the ID requirements on my car and in my pocket have not changed one 
bit. As for the back-end infosystems, I suspect no one really knows or 
has a plan.

> Forget about accessing any federal
> building (for any reason whatsoever) anonymously - or even with legitimate
> identity that has no State certified picture to accompany you.

It wouldn't surprise me.

But some context that people from other countries may not have when they 
read a statement like that is many or most Americans will go their 
entire lives without ever actually entering a US federal building. 
Seriously, the biggest direct interaction a typical citizen under age 65 
has with the federal government is filing a yearly tax form. Over 65 you 
probably receive a monthly check. Oh, we also had to mail in a form this 
year for the census which is every 10 years.

> The US is
> on the fast track to Oracleization on a complete and irreversible scale.

Like the database or like the ideal random function? The latter might be 
more interesting.

- Marsh

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