As Predicted: Encryption Haters Are Already Blaming Snowden (?!?) For The Paris Attacks

from the shut-up dept

It really was less than two months ago that we noted that, having lost the immediate battle for US legislation to backdoor encryption, those in the intelligence community knew they just needed to bide their time until the next big terrorist attack. Here was the quote from Robert Litt — the top lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from September:

Although ?the legislative environment is very hostile today,? the intelligence community?s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, said to colleagues in an August e-mail, which was obtained by The Post, ?it could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.?

Well, as you already know, on Friday there was a tragic and horrifying terrorist attack in France that killed over 100 people. And it took basically no time at all for defenders of the surveillance state to start… blaming Snowden and encryption? It started with the usual talking heads, such as former George W. Bush press secretary and current Fox News commentator, Dana Perino, who seriously seemed to blame Snowden for the attacks based on… who knows what.

And then there was her Fox News colleague Greg Gutfeld, speculating that the attacks may have been planned in secret thanks to “whistleblowers.”

Robert Litt must have been smiling. And then, he was helped along even further by the stenographers at the NY Times, who reported over the weekend that the attackers “used encryption technology” based entirely on anonymous “European officials.”

The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology, according to European officials who had been briefed on the investigation but were not authorized to speak publicly. It was not clear whether the encryption was part of widely used communications tools, like WhatsApp, which the authorities have a hard time monitoring, or something more elaborate. Intelligence officials have been pressing for more leeway to counter the growing use of encryption.

Here’s the link to that article, but as I type this, it now shows the following:

Perhaps the NY Times realized that publishing such rampant speculation without confirmation meant that they were getting played like fiddles by the intelligence community in their game to undermine encryption. Either way, the original article is available (for now) at the Internet Archive. Update: The NY Times is now redirecting the original link to a general link about the Paris attacks, not the specific story they originally had about the evils of the attackers using encryption. As far as I can tell, there’s still been no explanation.

No matter what, the argument is pure bullshit. Of course they probably used encryption, because lots of people use encryption to communicate, and there’s no way in hell that they suddenly decided to use encryption “because Snowden.” As Glenn Greenwald has helpfully chronicled, the press has noted that terrorists have known to use encryption to avoid having their communications spied upon since before 9/11. Here’s just one example in an article stuffed with many, many more:

The idea that it was suddenly because of Snowden’s revelations that the attackers decided to communicate via encryption defies all common sense, and anyone making that suggestion seems to be publicly displaying a near total ignorance on history — most likely for political gain. Meanwhile, the speculation over how the attackers communicated has led some to claim (without any evidence to support it) that they may have been communicating via the PlayStation 4. I’m pretty damn sure that the PS4 does not include end-to-end encryption, so even if that does turn out to be true, it would seem to undermine the earlier claims of encryption being the problem. Update: And, as expected, the guy who made the original “they communicated via PS4” claims is now walking back that story….

The real point, though: if you want to communicate secretly, there is always some way to do it. To blame leaks from just a couple of years ago on the fact that people planning to commit mass murder try to communicate secretly is flat out ridiculous and is nothing more than fear mongering to score political points.

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Comments on “As Predicted: Encryption Haters Are Already Blaming Snowden (?!?) For The Paris Attacks”

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143 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

When 'scum' just doesn't quite cut it...

Also, F Snowden. F him to you know where and back.
— Dana Perino (@DanaPerino)

People are dead, and do they care? Do they offer sympathy to the friends and family of those that died? Hell no, screw them, it’s time to use the opportunity to score some points! Who cares about corpses, there’s soundbites to be made!

Too ‘delicate’ to spell out the word ‘fuck’, but they have no problem using the dead, and the pain and suffering of others for their own personal gain. Lovely sensibilities they’ve got there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: When 'scum' just doesn't quite cut it...

IT’s the same kind of stupidity that made some of the Mizzou protesters claim that this horror show detracts from their protests. IT’s a sickening phenomenon on top of a horrific event.

And these cunts have forgotten that they actually have a modicum of empathy for their fellow man and womman.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well I mean can you blame them, the US spy agencies have a good 300 million or so potential terrorists to keep watch on, while the French spy agencies have a solid 66 million or so potential terrorists to watch, so it’s hardly surprising that some would slip through the cracks.

I mean, I suppose you could argue that if they weren’t conducting indiscriminate spying on everyone, and only focused on those that have demonstrated actual ill-intent they might be able to focus their attention on real threats, instead of imaginary ones, but obviously that idea is just absurd, as the general populous isn’t going to spy on itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Haystacks are to blame, not encryption

The surveillance state is never able to find out about these attacks before they happen. They only make excuses afterward. Maybe instead of spying on the entire population of the US and Europe, they should concentrate on actual terrorists? They are too busy wasting their time with people who do little more than break a few traffic laws on their way to work that they are unable to actually do real investigative work into the real threats.

In short, if they build less haystacks and concentrate on looking into the right haystacks, they might have a chance.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Haystacks are to blame, not encryption

Maybe instead of spying on the entire population of the US and Europe, they should concentrate on actual terrorists?

I don’t think they know how to do that. Not being tongue in cheek, to me it really looks like all they know how to do is “collect it all” and then sit on it. And of course the FBI is good at creating terrorism plots. But finding actual terrorists? That seems to be beyond their capabilities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Haystacks are to blame, not encryption

It’s actually about fear and greed. The people in charge don’t understand what’s going on and it frightens them. Rather than higher people who understand the technology and can figure out what to do, they just do what they can understand and get really big budgets to do. The fact that it’s not working is obviously the fault of the nerds and geeks. But that’s okay so long as their budgets remain big.

Javier says:

Re: Haystacks are to blame, not encryption

Hmm that depends. I don’t know if it’s implemented but I assume they are working towards it. That is a Machine to monitor this haystack data. Have you seen the show Person of Interest? Something like that would require a massive computer, a few very smart people, and a couple billion dollars.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Encryption IS to blame

Which is why most of them don’t bother – and accept whatever the Imam says it says – consequently we have some Muslims who are horrified at these events and say that they can’t be anything to do with Islam (the version they have heard that is) and others who have heard a different story from a different Imam.

Just to make things worse the order of it is scrambled – it is not even roughly chronological. A decoded version is here.
http://www.koran-at-a-glance.com/

Anonymous Coward says:

Let's review, briefly

14 years of ever-increasing surveillance
14 years with trillions of dollars in intelligence spending
14 years with trillions of dollars in military spending
14 years of torture and kidnapping
14 years of drone strikes
14 years of Guantanamo
14 years of crushed civil liberties
14 years of massive profits for defense/security contractors

And yet the western world’s intelligence forces were unable to detect and prevent a poorly-planned and ineffective attack carried out by under-equipped amateurs. (If they were professional soldiers, heavily-armed, and better organized, then there would be thousands dead, not hundreds.)

Of course those on whose watch this happened will never, ever, EVER admit that this happened because they failed. Again. Instead they’ll redouble their efforts toward the same tactics…never realizing and certainly never wanting to admit that you cannot fight the symptoms of terrorism, you must address its root causes. And in this case, sadly, the root causes trace back to the manipulation of the Middle East by western governments for their own ends. They created this monster and only now are they beginning to understand that it can and will turn on its creators.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Let's review, briefly

And in this case, sadly, the root causes trace back to the manipulation of the Middle East by western governments for their own ends. They created this monster and only now are they beginning to understand that it can and will turn on its creators.

I think they are aware of your interpretation here – and part of the reason for their failure is that it is also wrong (or at best only a fraction of the truth). To understand what is really going on one needs to go further back in time – much further.

Islam had a dynamic of violent conquest from day one (in their calendar,c620 in ours)

From that time till around 1700 the west mostly opposed this expansion. However at that time the Ottoman empire started to fall significantly behind the west( technically ) and ceased to be a significant threat. From then on various Western countries (notably Britain and France) started using the Ottomans as a pawn in their own games of power politics. Thus the “sick man of Europe” was propped up to prevent the expansion of Russia and, in its death throes was allowed to ethnically cleanse substantial proportions of its territory (only part of which constituted the Armenian Genocide). The resulting displacement of peoples added to the tensions of the region.

In the subsequent breakup of the empire artificial countries were created and when their initial (puppet) rulers became unpopular the memory of Ottoman failure was still alive and so they were overthrown by Arab nationalists (who looked to the west as a model) rather than Islamists.

Thus after the first world war the fundamentalist party within Islam slept – until it was woken by oil money in the 1970s. At that point the old 7th century version of Islam was promoted and the Arab nationalists were forced to become more and more draconian to keep the lid on it.

One by one they have fallen – and we have had the stupidity to indirectly assist this process -which I guess is your point. However I think it would have happened anyway.

Probably the worst mistakes were those of the 19th century. Russia should have been allowed to liberate the region from Ottoman rule and consequently there would be far less Islam in the region (and worldwide) now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Let's review, briefly

Russia should have been allowed to liberate the region from Ottoman rule and consequently there would be far less Islam in the region (and worldwide) now.

Such an expansion would have had little impact on Islam, as the Russian stans, (Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) still have strong Muslim communities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Let's review, briefly

Such an expansion would have had little impact on Islam, as the Russian stans,still have strong Muslim communities.

But these mostly do not seem to have swallowed the Iskamist agenda to the same extent.

Also the region in question had a very different population profile in the 19th century from today.
Muslims may have ruled the Ottoman Empire but they were not the overwhlelming majority. Had other groups been empowered at the time then these regions would resemble more Bulgaria/ Romania.

There would be other consequences too.

Possibly Alaska would still be part of Russia (fallout from the Crimean war was part of the reason for the sale).

Also it would have upset the timeline of history leading to the assassination of Alexander II. If he had lived longer then reforms he had in train might well have averted the revolution.
Removal of the Ottomans from the equation might well have averted WW1 so all bets are off…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Let's review, briefly

If I may add a companion to this comment:

…never realizing and certainly never wanting to admit that you cannot fight the symptoms of terrorism, you must address its root causes.

I think they realize it completely. Fighting the symptoms is job security. Finding a cure is anathema to the need for organizational self-preservation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“ineffective” in two senses.

First, in a military one. Attempting to get a bomb into the soccer game via the security checkpoint was quite stupid, and it was only one of the tactical errors made. Competent military tacticians would have caught most or all of those errors during the planning stage.

Second, in a political one. Putin’s statement of expressed cooperation was not something they wanted to provoke, as IS exists in the nebulous no-man’s-land created by the disagreements of major powers. If those disagreements disappear, then so does the space for them to exist. I think this was a miscalculation on their part.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

IS exists in the nebulous no-man’s-land created by the disagreements of major powers. If those disagreements disappear, then so does the space for them to exist.

Exactly – unfortunately this has been true of Islam to some extent throughout it’s history. It was born into the no man’s land between the Byzantine and Persian empires survived the middle ages in the no- mans land between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholics – spent the 19th century in the no-man’s land between Britan, France and Russia and grew again in the no-man’s land within the cold war!

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Not a double-standard at all

Aren’t these assholes using a terrible and violent event involving guns as an excuse to curtail constitutionally protected freedoms the same assholes who usually rail endlessly against anyone daring to suggest limiting another one when mass shootings happen domestically?

Maybe they’re not…. Hypocritical US media assholes start looking kinda similar from a distance…

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

They have surveillance covering nearly everyone, to keep us safe. Rather than admit that grab it all isn’t working, they find something to blame.

Oh it is encryption, because only bad people use encryption…
not people who live in actual dictatorships who will be murdered for expressing an unapproved idea
not people who live in ‘Merika who have seen the special attention given to those who pretend they still have the rights we were given
not people who don’t want to look like the morons at the CIA who keep classified documents on a fucking AOL account a high teenager can access

For every bit of privacy they have taken from all of us, despite all of the claims of keeping us safe…
THEY CAN’T DO WHAT THEY PROMISED, BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!
Stop giving them air to suck up and spin to get more power.
Stop coddling citizens, the world is a scary place but you will NEVER be 100% safe.
Stop sowing more terror to gain more power, because you really are becoming those you claim hate us for our freedom… because you keep taking it away like they want to.

Something horrible happened in the world, and every second the media pays any attention to the spin is wasted.

We don’t need to have the 3000000 word deep dig into those you think might have done it or why.
What we need is to be able to grieve for the loss of people taken in a pissing contest between 2 sides who just want more power for themselves not to keep the pawns in the game safe.
We are expendable if it gets them something more. They jumped on blaming everything but their own failure, only mentioning in passing (to frighten us small children) those people who died because the illusion of protection we gave our rights up for doesn’t always work.

Oh encryption cause this!! Not our years of failed policies playing world police basing decisions on what pundits think is right, not informed people. We set these wheels in motion, and they are running at high speed. Perhaps we should consider our answers so far haven’t been the right ones, and staying that course will result in more tragedy.

Capt ICE Enforcer says:

Next level

I offer our my heart felt sadness to all those who were affected by this terrible event. And now, based upon high level government sources from around the world who currently are not able to brief the public. The bad people that did bad things did not use encryption but instead used the next level of advanced anti surveillance techniques of substituting words with different words. This technique has been used by women for years. For example.

Man- Hey babe, I am going to go drink a beer with my friends tonight, is that okay with you.

Woman- Of course my love, go have fun.

After sophisticated translation- Oh hell no, if he leaves I am going to be pissed off. How dare he even ask.

Now the computer is still struggling to piece the rest together, as it shows only 9% complete.

Anonymous Coward says:

Snowden is a hero! Letting our enemies know our secrets is a great thing. No bad can ever come of it, because, reasons. And encryption is great. All of our enemies should use it all the time. Also, they should stop looking for that getaway driver from the Paris attacks. People should be able to help other people commit crimes. It’s the bestest thing, and it shouldn’t be discouraged. I don’t believe in accomplice liability. We should reward heroes like Snowden who give away our secrets and getaway drivers who help murderers. They’re doing good work.

/Mike Logic

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Snowden is a hero! Letting our enemies know our secrets is a great thing. No bad can ever come of it, because, reasons. And encryption is great. All of our enemies should use it all the time. Also, they should stop looking for that getaway driver from the Paris attacks. People should be able to help other people commit crimes. It’s the bestest thing, and it shouldn’t be discouraged. I don’t believe in accomplice liability. We should reward heroes like Snowden who give away our secrets and getaway drivers who help murderers. They’re doing good work.

/Coward Logic

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Letting our enemies know our secrets is a great thing.

What secrets did he reveal, other than that the NSA was spying on americans without warrants?

And encryption is great.

It is. And I assume you agree, seeing as you’re posting anonymously.

All of our enemies should use it all the time.

No. Everyone should use it because it protects your privacy. Or are you willing to post your bank account info here?

Also, they should stop looking for that getaway driver from the Paris attacks.

Hello idiotic leap in logic.

People should be able to help other people commit crimes. It’s the bestest thing, and it shouldn’t be discouraged

Huh?

I don’t believe in accomplice liability.

I do, so…

We should reward heroes like Snowden who give away our secrets and getaway drivers who help murderers. They’re doing good work.

Get help.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What secrets did he reveal, other than that the NSA was spying on americans without warrants?

Um, he revealed the extent to which the government monitors for terrorism. That info would be pretty handy, if you’re a terrorist.

It is. And I assume you agree, seeing as you’re posting anonymously.

So my choosing to post anonymously on your boards means that I think encryption is great? I don’t see the connection. I think there are pros and cons to anonymity and encryption. You seem to think more is better.

No. Everyone should use it because it protects your privacy. Or are you willing to post your bank account info here?

Sure. It’s Capital One Bank, account number 2044623568. Have at it. Again, though, you seem to think more privacy is better. I think there are pros and cons.

Hello idiotic leap in logic.

Nothing idiotic about it. In other contexts, you deplore third-party liability. Why wouldn’t you deplore it here?

I do, so…

You do? Can you point to single time you agreed that someone other than the party directly committing the wrong should be held accountable?

Get help.

Just having some fun. You’re the one supposedly with the abundance of ideas, even though you have a very closed mind about so many things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sure. It’s Capital One Bank, account number 2044623568. Have at it. Again, though, you seem to think more privacy is better. I think there are pros and cons.

Not that that’s not enough, but we’re talking about completely unencrypted online communication. You need to post the username and password you use to access your account. Don’t worry about anything else, we can look it up ourselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Um, he revealed the extent to which the government monitors for terrorism. That info would be pretty handy, if you’re a terrorist.

“A shitload” isn’t exactly of strategic value. About the only thing Snowden told terrorists was “You were right, just a little fear is enough to make us destroy ourselves.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Umm, you forgot to post the details: Full name, billing address, associated SSN, PIN, etc.

Anxiously awaiting the details, provided you aren’t full of shit.

You’re missing the point. Just because some privacy is good, that doesn’t mean more privacy is always better. Mike sees things in black and white, when reality is much more gray.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

We’re talking about encryption. It is black and white. Either everyone can use it, or everyone is compromised. Anything else is asking for magical golden keys that open a secret back door that only the good guys can access, and the reasons that that won’t work have already been covered ad infinitum.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nothing idiotic about it. In other contexts, you deplore third-party liability. Why wouldn’t you deplore it here?

Horrible analogy. In order for the getaway driver to be legally liable, they have to know they’re helping a criminal of some sort escape from the law. What you folks want is to convict and imprison unknowing cab drivers for giving a criminal a ride.

What you copyright trolls don’t understand is that the rest of humanity and the Internet ought to have no obligation, legal or moral, to police your precious state-granted monopolies (copyrights) for you. So get off our lawn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

but mike, we are all terrorists now, because ONLY terrorists use encryption, right? Certainly the US Govt/Mil never used encryption EVER. This is expanding on the whole “If you’ve done nothing wrong…” Argument, and it is dangerous, VERY VERY dangerous, if not out right deadly.

To the NSA/FBI calling for backdoors, are you going to also require that backdoors be put into key US Govt/Mil communications? If you’ve answered no, then you have to ask yourselves why are you better than everyone else? Does China have a giant backdoor in their Great Firewall? Again, you have to ask yourselves, “Why don’t they do this?” if it is so great?

Michael Jackson says:

Re: Re: Re:

Anonymous Coward – you are an armchair nurd who knows a lot about tech and little about history, psychology, and dealing with people face to face. You are viewing this whole thing thru a pinhole. I don’t know if you regard your on line ID as some sort of irony, or are just the ADHD type that thrives on provocation, but I think your ID is literally correct. You take a point that may have something but then stretch it enormously in order to have the last word on everything that you have never done, and in so doing lose any credibility for your original point.

william says:

George Soros financed Ferguson.
George Soros financed the European Invaders
George Soros probably financed Missouri.
George Soros owes REPARATIONS.
Those who ENABLED these INVADERS to flood in must pay reparations to the Families and Survivors. Start with George Soros’ wealth, then Merkel, and go on down the line. The INVADER ENABLERS committed these acts BY PROXY and must pay FULL REPARATIONS. They must pay for the costs of policing and controlling THEIR AGENTS , feeding, housing, clothing, and REPATRIATING the invaders.
Jewish Billionaire George Soros has confirmed he wants to bring down Europe’s borders, following the accusation made last week by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those (human rights) activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state,” Mr Orban said. Mr Soros has now issued an email statement to Bloomberg Business, claiming his foundations help “uphold European values”, while Mr Oban’s actions in strengthening the Hungarian border and stopping a huge migrant influx “undermine those values.” “His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” Mr Soros added. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.” Already Israeli businessman are buying up land in northern Iraq, where ISIS(rael) has depopulated an entire region, overwhelming Europe with refugees in the process.
Soros, a WWII Nazi COLLABORATOR, has been spreading TEARS and CHAOS through his financing of “color” revolutions, and his financing of race riots in America starting with Ferguson. Soros owes REPARATIONS globally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Looking for terrorists under lampposts,

becuz that’s where the light is brightest.

Decrypting iPhones & emails is completely useless when ISIS is using Playstations to communicate.

These “intelligence” agencies are destroying the Fourth Amendment, with ZERO improvement in security.

But then, these agencies were never serious about looking for terrorists UNLESS they were under lampposts. They want to show some ‘stats’, and it’s easier to run up stats with dumb terrorists than with smart terrorists.

Or, in the case of the FBI, they simply MANUFACTURE terrorists out of 80-IQ dimwits in order to run up their stats.

Sam says:

This is especially frustrating given that the surveillance state was ranked up after a supposed intelligence failure after 9/11. The truth is that our intelligence didn’t fail, it was our leaders who failed to listen to the intelligence. Now they want to continue down the same path despite yet another failure of their system.

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/ex-cia-director-bush-ignored-months-of-warnings-about-911-to-avoid-leaving-paper-trail-of-culpability/

Anonymous Coward says:

What’s wrong with saying that encryption absolutely *does* help terrorists succeed? It *does* thwart law enforcement. But it’s a price worth paying.

Here’s a car analopy: we could set speed limits to 20 mph on every road in the US and save 30,000 lives every year. Far more than we would save if every terrorist plat were thwarted. But we don’t do it because we value efficient travel more than those 30,000 lives.

AJ says:

Re: Re:

“What’s wrong with saying that encryption absolutely does help terrorists succeed? It does thwart law enforcement. But it’s a price worth paying.”

Nothing at all. It’s an honest argument.Freedom has a price. In some cases the price is in blood. The goal of terrorism is and always has been, to destroy freedom. Every time we take away freedoms to combat terrorism we are advancing their cause. Politicians love to ride these types of tragedy’s to push their agenda’s. Gun control, encryption, whatever. It’s an opportunity to advance their cause…

The only people not using these types of tragedies to push an agenda are the victims.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” – Rahm Emanuel”

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What’s wrong with saying that encryption absolutely does help terrorists succeed? It does thwart law enforcement. But it’s a price worth paying.

Actually, that’s probably wrong. Lacking decent security on the internet would make it easier for terrorists to compromise computer systems – and this would probably help them more than being able to communicate on encrypted channels on the internet.

we could set speed limits to 20 mph on every road in the US and save 30,000 lives every year

And I am sorry, while I agree with what I think is your point, this has been repeatedly debunked. There is not even a decent correlation in the reduction of speed limits and the reduction of deaths by car accidents.

bean counter says:

Re: cost/benefit analysis

If you run the numbers it’s obvious way too much money and effort is being spent on trying to “protect” the populace from the threat equivalent of a very rare but potentially deadly disease, transmitted by contact with a parasitic infestation that lurks in the shadows…but that’s just me right?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Among other things

Also on the list of things responsible for ‘frustrating the ability of law enforcement to monitor potential terrorists’:

Blinds
Closed windows
Doors
Walls
The ability to talk face to face without someone listening in
Whispering
Hand delivered letters
Privacy in general
Languages that aren’t understood by police in the area
The lack of a police officer and/or camera and microphone in every room of every house and building
Laws (theoretically) protecting the right to privacy

With so many things getting in the way of their ability to monitor crime and/or ‘terrorism’, it’s a wonder they can solve any crimes at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Among other things

The FBI today announced the plan to extend the highly successful police bodycam program to the entire population.
The wearing of the bodycam will be mandatory (except for law enforcement/government officials) your cam will be issued at birth and all recordings will be sent without using encryption on a daily basis for review.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: srynas

a police chief who blamed encryption for frustrating the ability of law enforcement to monitor potential terrorists

That’s a legitimate complaint. It’s not his job to judge whether or not the positives outweigh the negatives, just to advocate for what he needs to do his job better.

Putting the guy on tv is probably a good move for Fox as well. Their viewership numbers are doing well, and in times of crisis, does even better. A police chief talking about all the things that make their jobs difficult is interesting.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the Fox forums there is somebody pointing out that on Techdirt, contributors are advocating for strong encryption to be left in the hands of evil people and no article writers are providing balance.

I like the Techdirt echo chamber and other people like Fox’s echo chamber.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: srynas

That’s a legitimate complaint. It’s not his job to judge whether or not the positives outweigh the negatives, just to advocate for what he needs to do his job better.

Depends on what exactly he thinks his job is, or what he believes to have higher priority. If it’s ‘stopping criminals and solving crimes’ then yes, it makes perfect sense for him to argue against encryption, as encryption can indeed make those two things more difficult.

On the other hand if it’s ‘protecting the public’ then arguing against encryption is counter-productive, as he’s arguing against something that protects the public by making it more difficult for would-be-criminals to commit crimes.

Solving a crime is well and good, but preventing it from ever happening in the first place is far better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: srynas

That’s a legitimate complaint. It’s not his job to judge whether or not the positives outweigh the negatives, just to advocate for what he needs to do his job better.

You know what else reduces crime? Wholesale slaughters of populations. No people = no crimes. Now, on that basis, maybe you would also argue that it would be perfectly legitimate for law enforcement officials to call for genocide. I would say that you’re a sociopath.

Klaus says:

Re: Re: srynas

I don’t think it’s legitimate at all. There have to be a 1001 other things that can frustrate lawmen, ranging from access to real, human intelligence to lack of political will to tackle the root causes of terrorism.

Picking on one, the inability to read peoples electronic messages at will is just lazy, pandering to whatever is “on message” that week in law enforcement. What, is enforcing peoples privacy not in his job description?

This is a clown, in a uniform. Wearing a badge of authority.

Anonymous Coward says:

The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology,

Citizens are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when checking their bank balances.
Online shoppers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when making purchaes online.
Gmail users are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when checking their email.
Yahoo! users are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when checking their email.
Grandma is believed to have communicated using encryption technology when talking to her grandchildren on FaceTime using her ipad
Techdirt readers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when leaving this message.
You are believed to have communicated using encryption technology when reading this message.

Terrorists use propaganda, guns and bombs, so does the USA Government. The one closer to home terrorizes me more than the one in a desert on the other side of the planet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology,

Terrorists use propaganda, guns and bombs, so does the USA Government. The one closer to home terrorizes me more than the one in a desert on the other side of the planet.

Completely agree. I worry about terrorist as much as I worry about getting struck by lighting. The US government on the other hand scares me far more. Terrorists have only been an excuse to extend their control far beyond what it is supposed to be.

David says:

Would it have made a difference?

If the encryption they used was breakable (and it’s possible it was breakable), would it have made any difference? Breaking encryption likely only would have helped figure out what happened AFTER the event, unless they were decrypting everything and could see and act on the message in sufficient time before the attack.

Ruben says:

What you never hear in these debates

You never hear any of these talking heads, nor any intelligence official gripe about how they have obtained encrypted messages sent by terror suspects that they aren’t able to break. Nobody has ever mentioned after the fact that there was a communique intercepted from a known attacker ahead of an attack that was unable to be decrypted which may have been of substantial use.

They haven’t even intercepted their comms, and if they did, they were either able to decrypt it, or it was already in cleartext.

Now, I’m not saying that the intelligence community is useless, but there’s a job they should be doing and they’re not doing it despite being given nearly every resource they could possibly dream of having.

But, to them, clearly the answer is to be given more power and resources. The tunnel vision is strong with this one.

suomynonA drawoC says:

Re: Re:

I don’t know, Sneakernet maybe? There will always be some means of sharing/communicating freely without having to worry about eavesdroppers. This truth is as old as time itself and no amount of surveillance power will ever overcome it.

I actually started using a VPN just a couple of years ago, fwiw. My reason wasn’t to hide illegal downloads, though it does occasionally do this for me. No, it was because the powers that be were abusing the law and civil rights in ways they were never meant to be and that really pissed me off (thank you Snowden!).

I always encrypt all of my hard drives too, not because I have anything to hide, but because I live in a pretty bad neighborhood where theft is a real concern. I’m not worried so much about my passwords since those are encrypted too, but the idea of some stranger looking at my photos and what not? That creeps me out lol.

I guess my point is that using encryption doesn’t automatically equate to someone being a “bad guy”. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for using it beyond just banking and shopping. And even if the powers that be did find a way to force programmers to adopt their whole “backdoors for law enforcement purposes only” concept (what a joke), evildoers would simply resort to writing their own software.

PS: Can’t wait to see law enforcement flip out when quantum entanglement becomes the communications norm. Good luck tapping that shit lol.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Law enforcement says “the terrorists used encryption to conceal their communications from us”, with the implication being that therefore something needs to be done about encryption so terrorists can’t use it anymore. But there’s nothing special about encryption morally or legally, it’s just a type of privacy. So substitute “privacy” for “encryption”:

Law enforcement says “the terrorists used privacy to conceal their communications from us”, with the implication being that therefore something needs to be done about privacy so terrorists can’t use it anymore.

When put that way, it’s obviously outrageous, because clearly they can’t remove terrorists’ privacy without removing everyone’s. For some reason it’s not as obvious to everyone that encryption, as a type of privacy, is exactly the same.

I can’t claim any of this as my original thinking, just something I was thinking about the other day listening to one of these law enforcement people talking about this.

Anonymous Coward says:

My embarrassing “ah-ha!” moment: This post & its comments got me wondering what a government based on a single general idea (‘security uber alles’) was called. Turns out, a ruling body formed around an abstract idea is called an idiocracy. Suddenly, Mike Judge seems a lot more subtle than I thought… and I’ve realized that my vocabulary is a lot more limited than I care to admit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Turkey says it notified France twice about attacker

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attacks-turkey-says-it-notified-france-twice-about-attacker-says-senior-official-a6736131.html

Turkey notified France twice in December 2014 and June 2015 about one of the attackers in suicide bombings and shootings in Paris that killed more than 130 people, a senior Turkish government official said on Monday.

Yes, by all means, blame Snowden.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am so sick of hearing ‘The bad guys were doing stuff in secret! How were we supposed to know?’ logic.

Every damn time I hear these groups talk about LEGAL CIVIL TOOLS FOR PRIVACY they make it sound like every criminal had to log their plans with the local police department before carrying it out.

If you can’t catch bad guys when they try to hide what they’re doing, YOU CAN’T CATCH BAD GUYS! News flash! Criminals (yes, TERRORISTS are criminals. Screw the fear-logic terminology that has long since lost all meaning) try to be secretive!

If your only method of catching criminals is ‘lets hope they are stupid enough to make it easy for us’, get another job, and maybe we can finally find an agency willing to take it’s role and responsibility seriously, and approach the problem in a realistic and meaningful manner.

Personanograta says:

How Very Convenient

As Predicted: Encryption Haters Are Already Blaming Snowden (?!?) For The Paris Attacks

Yes, Edward Snowden was responsible For The Paris Attacks.

The attacks had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Western governments have been humiliating, dehumanizing, bombing and controlling the resources of entire regions throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa for over 100 years.

It begins with the end World War I when the Ottoman Empire was forced by the Allied Powers as part of war reparations to sign the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 which began first with the partitioning and then total dissolution of the empire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_S%C3%A8vres

Western control of the region mainly through mandates pronounced by both British/French governments over the succeeding years only served to entrench Western control often through indigenous bought and paid for satraps. This scheme is wholly responsible for the repression of entire generations of Middle Eastern and North African people who had almost no hope of casting off the repressive yolk of corrupt locals and power (oil) hungry Western sadists.

While it took only 20 years for the abusive allied friendly terms in the Treaty of Versailles to explode in Europe and usher in World War II the equally abusive terms of the Treaty of Sevres and British/French mandates took an additional 75 years boil over with the continued help of local despots and their Sadist Western partners (US included) to bring the region to a rapid boil.

So yes it is all Edward Snowdens fault.

Anonymous Coward says:

“It was not clear whether the encryption was part of widely used communications tools, like WhatsApp, which the authorities have a hard time monitoring, or something more elaborate.”

something more elaborate like
an encrypted chat server
running on a stupid self erasing raspberry with no storage
through a very dark darknet (tor?)

with any common android chat client apps

that is not exactly elaborate, any kid can do something like that and have totally encrypted chat/voip conversation

GEMont (profile) says:

The right tool for the job.

What a great tool they made when they financed the creation of ISIS. Without a visible terrorist army to do their bidding, it may have taken years to break the American Public’s desire for strong encryption here in the USA.

But with merely a few million US dollars sent to Saudi Arabia, for arms, the Five Eyes has put their best tool to its best use and in one foul swoop, put an end to many, many things that were causing it some grief, such as Syrian Immigrants, strong encryption, cyber-warfare, mass surveillance, and so much more…. which will now be demanded by the truly stupid people (republicans, racists, politicians, kings of industry, lords of the lands, police, etc.) of the USA, and allow the escalation of the Five Eyes base plan to enter stage three.

And as a bonus, they got to punish the French (fries) for all their refusals to be a team player and for continually refusing to pay their dues to the Five Eyes for protection against terrorist attacks.

Its gonna be a long memorable winter.

—-

GEMont (profile) says:

The New World Order

Gary’s first law of social engineering.

The Surveillance State must ALWAYS fail to stop “terrorist” attacks, because “terrorist” attacks are the very thing that make the Surveillance State appear to be necessary to the terrified public.

Remove “terrorist” attacks and you remove the need for a Surveillance State.

Create “terrorist” attacks and you create the need for a Surveillance State.

—-

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: The New World Order

Real ones, at least. It’s OK to stop fake ones that you create for your own purposes.

As I said above.

Create “terrorist” attacks and you create the need for a Surveillance State.

Stopping one of the fake “terrorist” attacks the FBI is so bad at constructing from whole cloth, is actually neither “stopping an attack” or “stopping a terrorist”, since the victim of such phony FBI stings are usually brain damaged idiots and not in any way real terrorists, and the planned attack was entirely fictional and never intended to be carried out. Even the explosives are phony.

If the Five Eyes had not recruited mercenaries from all over the world to fill the ranks of ISIS for a publicly visible Saudi based Terrorist Army, the only terrorist attacks left would indeed be the ones manufactured by the FBI.

And since those are so obviously phony, nobody in the USA or anywhere else would be hiding under their bed any more.

By having its terrorist army murder lots of people in France, the Five Eyes have renewed the public terror level and created a situation where all of their planned global surveillance and crowd control operations will be instantly publicly approved, if not outright publicly demanded, for a while.

It was a superbly evil, but strategically timely move.

Truth is however, that the more often they do this sort of thing, the less time the effect of terror on the public will last, meaning that 5-Is will necessarily have to do this sort of thing more often, if they continue blowing up only non-Five Eyes nation’s citizens.

Which is of course, the entire purpose of ISIS.

When ISIS begins using US-made drones to target churches and schools in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Britain, you will know that the Five Eyes has finally decided to drop the other shoe and put the world to war.

Considering the level of escalation that the France Bombing displays, this should likely not be too long from now.

After all, the old farts running the Five Eyes want very much to enjoy the fruits of their labors before they are too old to get it up any more.

You may want to get used to saying “Hail Hydra”.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even terrorists have a right to privacy.

Better watch that kinda talk there stranger.

Sentiments like that can get you a one way ticket on a CIA freight flight, to a small room in a small foreign country that considers torture to be pure spiritual joy, where members of your own government will gleefully pull off your fingernails and electrocute your genitals, with equipment your tax dollars paid for.

And if you think that a simple “anonymous” handle will keep the men and women of your government from discerning your true identity, using technology your tax dollars paid for, perhaps you would also like to purchase this lovely 500 acre estate/plantation I have for sale, in Florida….

Swamish says:

Snowden is part of the problem

It’s hilarious to me that people who are pro-Snowden drag up 15 year old articles and that somehow represents ALL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. Look, I work in tech. In software development to be exact. And even people in my area didn’t really become aware of just how commonly it was used, etc, until all this came to light from Snowden. There are some estimated tens of thousands of terror groups in the world. Are you telling me they are all so organized that all of those groups have read that handbook and they all take orders from the same guy? How ignorant can you be if you actually believe that. There are tons of splinter groups and maybe they have never even heard of the handbook you posted above but BECAUSE of Snowden’s leak they now know to use encryption. You act like because you found one article from over a decade ago that all terrorists no matter what follow that same pattern. That is ridiculous and ignorant. And to claim Snowden didn’t have a negative affect on spreading the information about encryption to a wider audience is also ignorant.

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