[cryptography] crypto & security/privacy balance (Re: Digital cash in the news...)
James A. Donald
jamesd at echeque.com
Thu Jun 16 17:27:40 EDT 2011
On 2011-06-17 4:02 AM, Nico Williams wrote:
> Osama, for
> example, was found in part by traffic analysis. Maybe he should have
> been using Tor instead of USB sticks and couriers, but I bet usage of
> Tor from a sleepy Islamabad suburb would have led to his being found
That was not a sleepy Islamabad suburb, but the center of military elite
- ground zero for conspiracy as Stanford is the center of venture
capital. Had he been using Tor, would have fitted right in. Plus, if
it had been a sleepy Islamabad suburb, Tor would have been even better
because of all the suburbanites using Tor to download porn.
> Crypto is no more than an equivalent of doors, locks, keys, safes, and
The state can break locks, but it cannot break crypto.
Hiding *is* effectual against the state - and long has been even before
crypto. The collapse of tax revenues in Greece is largely due to
methods of tax evasion and tax resistance against the predatory state
that would be familiar to any third worlder. That tax evaders can now
do business over skype video just makes it easier. They don't notice
that they are using crypto to resist the state.
Indeed it is a general user interface principle, that for people to use
crypto effectively to resist the state, they should not need to notice
that they are using crypto. Tools that require conscious deployment of
crypto will never be widely deployed, and when deployed, the users will
> At the end of the day the rubber has to meet the road.
> People need to interact with other people in order to obtain the
> things they need for mere survival.
They interact through a banking system that is largely a branch of the
state, and an accounting system that is transparent to the state - both
of which are collapsing due to incompetent, corrupt, and ham fisted
In the financial crisis, it not only became apparent that political
favor is more important to bankers than profits and losses, it also
became obvious that Sarbannes Oxley compliant accounting fails to give a
true and fair account of a business's financial status.
They also interact through vpns and encrypted video conferencing - the
Chinese economy is booming in substantial part through a high tech
sector that largely bypasses or ignores the regular banking and regular
accounting system for higher tech alternatives, and the entire Greek
economy is going dark, disappearing from sight of the state, though I
would guess that in Greece this largely through third world methods of
tax evasion and tax resistance, rather than high tech methods. They
keep raising taxes, and, mysteriously, tax revenues fall every time.
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