White House Floats Idea Of Crypto Backdoor... If The Key Is Broken Into Multiple Pieces

from the crossing-the-threshold dept

It's no secret that some in the law enforcement and intelligence communities are hell bent on stopping encryption from being widely deployed to protect your data. They've made it 100% clear that they want backdoors into any encryption scheme. But when actual security folks press government officials on how they're going to do this without undermining people's own security and privacy, we get a lot of bureaucratic gobbledygook in response. Either that or magical fairy thinking about golden keys that basically any security expert will tell you are impossible without weakening security.

Not surprisingly, the law enforcement and intelligence communities are not giving up yet. The latest is that the White House appears to be floating a proposal to setup a backdoor to encryption that requires multi-party keys. That is, rather than just having a single key that can decrypt the content, it would require multiple parties with "pieces" of the "key" to come together to unlock it:
Recently, the head of the National Security Agency provided a rare hint of what some U.S. officials think might be a technical solution. Why not, said Adm. Michael S. Rogers, require technology companies to create a digital key that could open any smartphone or other locked device to obtain text messages or photos, but divide the key into pieces so that no one person or agency alone could decide to use it?

“I don’t want a back door,” said Rogers, the director of the nation’s top electronic spy agency during a speech at Princeton University, using a tech industry term for covert measures to bypass device security. “I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.”
Of course, this proposal is nothing new. As Declan McCullagh points out, during the first "Crypto Wars" of the 1990s, the NSA proposed the same sort of thing with two parties holding parts of the escrow key. It was a dumb idea then and it's a dumb idea now.

The idea being floated here is that by setting up such a system, it's less open to abuse by government/law enforcement/intelligence communities. And maybe that's true. It makes it marginally less likely to be abused by the government. But it can still be abused quite a bit. It's not like we haven't seen multiple government agencies team up to do nefarious things in the past, or even federal officials and private companies. Hell, just look at the recent discussions about the DEA's phone records surveillance program, where the DEA later teamed up with the NSA. And, also, that program required the more or less voluntary cooperation of telcos. So the idea that the requirement of multiple parties somehow lessens the risk seems like a stretch.

But, even if it actually did reduce the risk of direct abuse, it doesn't get anywhere near the real problem with this approach. If you're building in a back door, you're building in a vulnerability that others will eventually be able to exploit. You are flat out weakening the system -- whether or not you split up the key. You're still exposing the data to those with nefarious intent by weakening the overall system.

Thankfully, at least some in the government seem to recognize this:
“The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system” to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity advisor at the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technologies. “There’s no way to do this where you don’t have unintentional vulnerabilities.”
So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST -- or the people who want to undermine cybersecurity at the NSA and the FBI?

Filed Under: backdoors, crypto, cryptowars, encryption, key escrow, mobile encryption, multiple piece, nist, nsa, threshold


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:35am

    All this talk of giving keys to break encryption is making forget why we have encryption in the first place. =/

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  • icon
    Designerfx (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:36am

    "So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST "

    Uh, you remember how NIST is the group that has been compromised by the NSA on a multitude of levels?

    I wouldn't rely on NIST any more than I'd suggest relying on what NIST represents, such as FIPS - which happens to be mandated on every machine and is basically an imaginary wishlist of "your machines/processes are secure!"

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:35pm

      Re: "So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST "

      Uh, you remember how NIST is the group that has been compromised by the NSA on a multitude of levels?


      FWIW, NIST appears to have undergone something of a radical shift in response to the NSA stuff. It has come out strongly against the NSA's activities on that one and since then has been pretty regularly standing up for good encryption practices. I think it got religion in a good way.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:57pm

        Re: Re: "So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST "

        I think it got religion in a good way.
        NIST fell, but confessed, and is now redeemed.

        You have a lot of faith there.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 7:09pm

        Re: Re: "So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST "

        I think it got religion in a good way.


        I suspect it got on the "say one thing in public, do another behind closed doors" bandwagon.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 7:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: "So, now the questions is if the White House will actually listen to the cybersecurity experts at NIST "

          "say one thing in public, do another behind closed doors"
          No matter how you slice it, NIST reports through the Secretary of Commerce up to the White House.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:38am

    "We don't want a back door, we want a front door. One that I can walk right in whenever I want to and inspect whatever I want. Because fuck you and your privacy and your security."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      "No."

      Such a simple little word. But the US government hasn't heard it enough. It's forgotten there was ever even the _possibility_ of being refused. But they need to hear it. Repeatedly. From the entire social strata of the citizenry: "No."

      May we spy on you? "No."

      May we control what you say and when you say it? "No."

      May we muzzle scientific discourse and free inquiry? "No."

      And just maybe, if enough people could stand together and say together with one voice "No. We will not give in. We will not sacrifice the principles on which this country was founded. Our Bill of Rights will not be given up as an offering on an alter of lies to appease your rampant insatiable ego and need for absolute control. We refuse." then we could yet save this country from its slow and inexorable decay.

      Something radical will need to be done soon. Perhaps like Rome's succession of the Plebeians, which was needed before their central government would yield.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 2:19pm

        Re: Re:

        we could yet save this country from its slow and inexorable decay.

        I like your comment, except that by definition it's impossible to prevent something inexorable.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 6:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "seemingly inexorable"

          The whole point was that it _seems_ unstoppable, but there is yet some hope. Give it another decade or two, though, and I honestly wonder if you could ever do enough at that point without shattering the very system you're trying to save.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:43am

    Well, as long as they split the pieces and only give them to agencies that we can trust, such as NSA, DEA, DHS and FBI, then I'm okay with it.

    Lol, just KIDDING!

    NSA would get all the pieces anyway - with or without the other agencies' permissions (as if I'm going to believe they wouldn't give them their pieces anyway).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      I'd feel safer if the key was located in a spreadsheet on one of Sony's servers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:50pm

      Re:

      As usual they are ignoring the international community that this would also eventually apply. Are they really advocating that all governments should be given the spare keys. Any step in this direction will be mirrored elsewhere, and guaranteed there are countries out there where this level of government access would get people killed.
      So whilst is is a bad idea and I don't think there should be any compromise, perhaps we should argue that if there were keys they shouldn't be the ones to get them.
      How about, oh I don't know... Amnesty international, Interpol, or something like that. Other countries expectation of their own privacy may be our best protection of our own.

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      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 8:04pm

        Re: Re:

        you forget recently the FBI put out a statement they are allowed to hack foreign nations without accountability if they want to.

        That same Month The white house said anyone that does that very same thing to them could be considered an act of war if done to America.

        Do what I say not what I do

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:45am

    The stupid, it burns

    In addition to the reasons stated in this article for why the idea should be a nonstarter, I'd like to add another:

    In order to be used, the parts of the key have to be brought together. At which time, there is a whole key just waiting to be saved for future use.

    Whatever reduction in the security problems breaking the key up in pieces brings only lasts until the first time the key is actually used. All bets are off after that.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:03am

      Re: The stupid, it burns

      I was just thinking the same. It's like buying an awesome top of the line lock for your house, but you must give a small piece of a broken up key to a few burglars. No worries, they can't open it on their own. Next day they'll all be at your door at the same time and then make copies of the whole key to give to others.
      You're right, the stupid burns!

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:43am

      Re: The stupid, it burns

      I was thinking the same thing.

      The NSA would go to extreme effort to ensure that the first time that key is fully assembled from its parts, that the NSA is able to capture a copy of the complete key.

      There is another alternative even if the master key is never assembled.

      The NSA would secretly make it a priority to go after each party holding a part of that key and to obtain their part of the key. Maybe the NSA would find a way to compromise the original key generation or distribution process. There is no limit to what they would do because the stakes are so high.

      This is nothing less than a key to everything! The NSA must be salivating at the mouth! Effectively once the NSA gets this key, and they will, what we've just done is to remove all controls that the NSA presently has. Now there wouldn't even be a need to go to a court for a warrant. The NSA could simply unlock anything, any time.

      To be found using a system that does not implement this magic key approach would be illegal. That fact should tell you everything you need to know about what they think of your privacy.

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      • icon
        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

        The NSA would secretly make it a priority to go after each party holding a part of that key and to obtain their part of the key.

        Even if they don't get all of the key, knowing part of it can significantly reduce the effort to crack or brute-force the encryption. Anything that reduces the possible keyspace from the expected is a huge win to an attacker of a crypto system (cryptanalysis).

        As a very simple example to explain the concept:
        I've got a safe with a 4 digit combination. 0000 through 9999. There are 10,000 possible combinations to this safe. I break my key up into two parts: the first two digits and the second two. I give you the first two, which happen to be 64##, to the safemaker. I give the second two ##32, to the police.

        Q: How many tries would either the safemaker or the police need to try to get into the safe?
        A: Maximum, they would each need 100 tries.

        The safe maker would try 6400, 6401, 6402, and so on. The police would try 0032, 0132, 0232, and so on. The average for either would only be 50, assuming they knew nothing else, like my penchant for choosing powers of 2 as a safe combination.

        Further info:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptanalysis
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Related-key_attack

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

          No.

          That's not how secret sharing works.

          With your example, the key is 6432. The key is broken in two parts, which have to be summed to get the correct key.

          So one part, for instance 7754, is given to the safemaker. The second part, 8678, is given to the police. Each part is completely useless without the other: even if you have the first part, there are precisely 10000 possible values for the second part, and each of them will give one of the 10000 possible values for the combination.

          It's simpler to visualize it with a traditional 12-hour clock. The first part is the initial time, for instance 8 hours. The second part is the number of hours to add to it to get the correct time, for instance 10 hours. It's easy to see that, given only the initial time, you have no idea where it'll end up, and given only the number of hours to add but not the initial time, you still have no idea where it'll end up.

          For real-world usage, you would use the XOR operation instead of addition, with the same effect. For a more advanced system (k of n), take a look at Shamir's Secret Sharing.

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          • icon
            Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 15 Apr 2015 @ 2:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

            That is correct for certain types of key sharing schemes - but not all, and there can still be major issues with implementing in the real world more robust schemes. This was a very simple explanation for people not familiar with crypto (like the idiots wanting to write the law to require backdoors).

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    • icon
      Nathan F (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:09am

      Re: The stupid, it burns

      It gets even more fun..

      NSA: Give us the key so we can look at those messages..

      Telco: No..

      NSA comes back with a secret FISA court warrant: Give us the key now and keep your mouth shut.

      Telco: *sigh*

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    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:25pm

      Re: The stupid, it burns

      Ah, but what if the magic security elves made it so you could only use the key if your heart was pure and your intentions good? I assume they can do that too, so it's not a ridiculous proposal at all.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

        I get that this is sarcasm, but let me run with it a moment and assume that the people holding the pieces of the key are indeed incorruptibly good and virtuous.

        It's still a stupid idea. At some point, all of those virtuous people are going to have to get together and assemble their pieces into a whole key. That key is then susceptible to theft by parties unknown to the virtuous key-piece-holders.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

          anything can be stolen... the biggest problem with a multi-key senario is when one of the keys are compromised. Are they going to issue new multi-keys? However will they tell all of the backdoors to re-key?

          The first moment anything is compromised its over-with. And we all know how government is on the uptake of when things go wrong. The first thing they do is gird loins to prevent the incoming dick kick, to hell with the actual victims.

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        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

          > assume that the people holding the pieces of the
          > key are indeed incorruptibly good and virtuous.

          Even if today's keyholders are angles (and they are not), what about tomorrow's keyholders?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

            Even if today's keyholders are angles (and they are not)...
            Not angles? Are you claiming they're well-rounded people?

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            • identicon
              Pragmatic, 14 Apr 2015 @ 2:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The stupid, it burns

              The less well-rounded keyholders have horns and a tail, which makes them easier to spot.

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  • identicon
    paul clark, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:49am

    Sure If the US economy is Fiscally responsible If the key Is leaked

    I think its a great idea provided that the assets of the US is used as collateral if the key is leaked. i.e. If the key is leaked then the US government will be required to pay damages to the other countries to cover their economic losses.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re: Sure If the US economy is Fiscally responsible If the key Is leaked

      They'll smile and nod their heads and agree to that, but when the time comes to actually pay out, they'll have secretly changed the definition so they could weasel their way out of their obligation.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re: Sure If the US economy is Fiscally responsible If the key Is leaked

        You can already see this in play with how they keep trying to change the definition of vulnerability.

        It's not a vulnerability, it's not a backdoor, it's not a front door, it's not a golden key, it's not a key fragment...
        It's (whatever the magical word of the day is)

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  • identicon
    JustShutUpAndObey, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:52am

    Two people can keep a secret.

    It doesn't matter how many pieces there are, or where they are stored. If a key exists and more than one person has access, then a third person can (and will, given the motivation) gain access. This has been demonstrated time and time again.

    Two people can keep a secret only if one of them is dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:53am

    Signing a message with a government key isn't a backdoor, it's another front door. "Backdoor" implies a hidden, less secure point of entry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      No, it's a backdoor. A backdoor is a means of access other than the one that is intended for the primary users of the system. That's precisely what this is. A backdoor is a backdoor even if it is disclosed and everyone is aware that it exists.

      That's why the fact that certain government officials continue to insist that they don't want a backdoor is ludicrous and wrong by definition. And it's also why I will continue to ridicule them and disregard what they say on this topic as utter bullshit.

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      • icon
        Berenerd (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re:

        As soon as that back door is told to someone, everyone will be using it so it will be the front door. The only person using the front door will be the user of the "secured" device.

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        • identicon
          Just Another Anonymous Troll, 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You clearly did not read what John Fenderson posted. He said that a front door is for the primary user, and the back door is for other means of access. Unless the government physically steals my tablet, I am still the primary user and a deliberate weakness is still a back door.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:53am

    US Gov = adversary

    is it possible to design a completely secure system” to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries

    I think everyone sees the US government as an adversary.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:04am

      Re: US Gov = adversary

      Yes. From a security point of view, an "adversary" ("attacker" is the term more commonly used) is anyone attempting to compromise your security. Period. When it's law enforcement or government attempting this, then they are the adversary.

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    • identicon
      David, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:02am

      Re: US Gov = adversary

      Let's take a good look at the logic of this:

      As seen by every non-US customer of the companies that use such encryption - the US is a potential adversary. So they will never use/buy those products. So only US companies and citizens would be a market for said product. At that point, just like in the movie "Sneakers", the decryption machine is only good at spying on American citizens/companies.

      So who is really perceived as a threat by the US government?

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:11pm

      Re: US Gov = adversary

      You seem surprised. How come?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:54am

    So NIST- the .gov cryptography standardization group that accepted 10 million dollors to undermine the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption standard, thinks this is a bad idea...

    They're probably afraid they'll lose out on their bribes.

    Unless this is already implemented in hardware and waiting to be activated (like with cell phones/baseband)- it would have to be done with new hardware changes. Otherwise FOSS would just fork and code around this BS.

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    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      You got your stories wrong. It was the RSA company that defaulted DUAL_EC as the default random number generator in its BSafe product in exchange for 10 million dollars; DUAL_EC was created by the NSA and rammed through NIST's standardization practices over the objections of most of the other security professionals and cryptographers.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 9:59am

    The only question should be this:
    Do you want ANYONE to have access to your things?
    Actually, it doesnt matter if you want it or not because they will do it anyway. Point is, "m..muh terrurists" is not a good excuse, especially because almost every organized terror group can be linked to the US government.
    O hey lets give these people guns and help them overthrow a legitimate government over there because while thats exactly how every scary terrorist group starts, this one will be different.

    They want to fuck with their own people for something they did themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drewdad (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:01am

    Master keys for the front door

    Next up, let's make sure that the police can get into every residence. That's what they really want, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Violynne (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:05am

      Re: Master keys for the front door

      Nah.

      They'll just hit up Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, and/or Facebook and copy their data, since people willfully give up their privacy for a "Like" vote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:10am

      Re: Master keys for the front door

      They already can. Just call in a fake swatting and bob's your uncle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:04am

    Controlling the key holders is equivalent to being the sole holder of keys

    Having more than one key is a distinction without a difference, when the government has the authority to just bully others into forking them over. They will probably also compel companies to stay silent on their cooperation, just as they do now. The SOS continues, but it give the appearance of change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 12:58am

      Re: Controlling the key holders is equivalent to being the sole holder of keys

      So what you're suggesting is that the key parts should be distributed to different countries? Part to the USA, part to the UK, part to the EU, part to Russia, part to China, part to North Korea... no wait, that's two parts to China. Where's my map gone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:04am

    Partisanship

    White House Floats Idea...
    The linked Washington Post article makes clear that the it's the Obama administration who are floating the idea.
    The split-key approach is just one of the options being studied by the White House...

    Elsewhere on the 'net, in another recent conversation about this Washington Post article, a commenter noted that the Clipper Chip proposal came during the Clinton administration.

    So, is it that the Democratic party policy honchos believe in key escrow? Or is it just that the Clinton and Obama administrations just pushovers for the NSA and FBI on key escrow?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:22am

      Re: Partisanship

      Well remember the Re/Code interview where he said "I'm sympathetic to law enforcement" - which is pretty rich, given how people with the same ethnicity of the president are treated by LEOs in this country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re: Partisanship

        ... where he said "I'm sympathetic to law enforcement"
        For the duration of the election season, we should probably start referring to the Clipper Chip by its full descriptive name:
        The failed Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.

        You know, that actually has a little bit of ring to it, “the failed Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.”

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Partisanship

          “the failed Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.”
          Hmmmm... grammatically, I guess that should get a comma in there:
          The failed, Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.

          Sorry about that initial oversight. Don't want to have bad grammar, though. Need the comma to make sure “failed” modifies “Clipper Chip” rather than “Clinton-administration era”.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Partisanship

            “the failed Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.”

            How about the failed Clinton-administration and clipper chip?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Partisanship

              How about the failed Clinton-administration and clipper chip?
              Subtlety is a virtue.
              The failed, Clinton-administration era Clipper Chip.
              The reader sees the juxtaposition of the words. But the reader can't really complain about the writer's accurate description of the Clipper Chip as “failed.” That Clinton-administration era initiative did fail. Hard.

              So what if the reader knows “what's really going on” in the sentence fragment. The reader can't complain about the implied focus on the upcoming election—as long as the comma's in there.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:06am

      Re: Partisanship

      The only real way this could even be the slightest bit tolerable is if the key was split 4 ways:

      1) The President
      2) The Speaker of the House
      3) The Speaker of the Senate
      4) The Supreme Court

      All four would have to agree the the government has a valid case, probable cause, and imminent threat to enable the encryption to be performed.

      Nah, still not good enough.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: Partisanship

        "All four would have to agree"

        When have all four of those ever agreed on anything?

        Also don't you mean to allow the decryption?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Just Another Anonymous Troll, 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Partisanship

          When have all four of those ever agreed on anything?
          I believe that is a feature, not a bug.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:05am

    Break key into parts small enough for NSA to break

    NSA is getting this new computer that they need to provide work for...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:06am

    I'm actually fine with this.

    As long as one of the pieces is given to and only resides with the individual who is actually encrypting the information in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:07am

      Re: I'm actually fine with this.

      Yes, they can have 4 digits of the key, for all the security that that provides.
      /Sarc

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:06am

    1)With the first terrorist scare, they would use exigent circumstances to share ll the key parts with all the agencies, as it takes too long to get together to decrypt a message.
    2)Unless the really think that other governments will go along with the US having a golden key to all of their citizens communications, this will only be of use against US citizens, oh.. that is what they want.
    3)This would make US proprietary technology toxic outside the US, and it would Boost Linux and the BSD's position in the market, which might Might Microsoft and Apple say something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:16am

    Does China get a frontdoor into our technology devices too? What about Russia. Or is this strictly an American exceptionalism thing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:24am

      The international deal [was Re: ]

      Does China get a frontdoor into our technology devices too? What about Russia.
      • China will have keys for Chinese communications.
      • Russia will have keys for Russian communications.

      They'll form an international consensus. Every person's communications must be open to surveillance by some responsible government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:45am

    My plan for crypto backdoors

    I propose this: I keep my entire key and you keep your nose out of my beeswax unless you have a court order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:39pm

      The thing is...

      A court order wouldn't matter.

      This is essentially an unbreakable vault that will incinerate all your files before it will yield to safecracking.

      Now as a civilian, I think this is perfectly fine.

      But as a government that doesn't trust its people, they're freaked out.

      Interestingly, they want to be able to hide things from the people using such impenetrable technology. But they don't want things hidden from them by people.

      (And at this point we have steganographic tech that makes encrypted files look like garbage in unused sectors of a drive. If we really want to hide something, it's gone.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:54pm

        Re: The thing is...

        (And at this point we have steganographic tech

        Which can be used to hide messages in photos, posted to photo-sharing sites.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          MrTroy (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 1:16am

          Re: Re: The thing is...

          Which can be used to hide messages in any noise, as long as the noise is sufficient to hide your signal. Such as uninitialised sectors of a drive (in very controlled circumstances which probably don't exist in modern hardware, but that's a different problem)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          beltorak (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: The thing is...

          Stego is great for hiding from the casually curious; but a statistical sweep of all "noisy" files would reveal suspicious alterations unless you are willing to use only 1 bit in 8 for the data.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcDbKlz06no#t=1073

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 8:58am

            Re: Re: Re: The thing is...

            Well-encrypted data is indistinguishable from a random series of bytes, so you can embed it into a larger block of random bytes without risk of detection.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Just Another Anonymous Troll, 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:11am

        Re: The thing is...

        I think that if you fail to comply, you can be held in contempt of court and jailed until you surrender your key. So that's hardly a prison dodge, but does actually make the government go to the (minor) trouble of getting a warrant.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:51am

    Question about Key Generation

    I don't know what algorithm would be used here.

    Apparently there is a way to generate (at least) two completely working keys for some crypto algorithm.
    1. A key for the person wanting privacy
    2. A key (broken into parts) for the government

    Can this cryptography algorithm generate keys 3 and 4? And 5 and 6? I'm sure this would have to be done at key generation time.

    I'm just speculating about how this works, but it would seem that key generation time is a critical step. So where is the key generation done? Does the end user get to generate their own keys and then give the 'golden key pieces' to the government? (yeah, THAT seems secure) Or does the government generate the keys and give the end user their working key? That would mean that the government could just also keep the user's fully assembled key, along with numerous parties who intercept it in transit to the user who wants privacy.

    Can anyone elaborate on how this type of multi key, multi key part cryptography actually works?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:56am

      Re: Question about Key Generation

      Can anyone elaborate on how this type of multi key, multi key part cryptography actually works?
      Here's a Wikipedia starting point: Shamir's Secret Sharing.

      Or you can consult one of the standard reference works on cryptography for various constructs with which to build a complete algorithm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re: Question about Key Generation

        I've seen that one before. But it would seem that you just make enough parts, and make the threshold low enough that you can ensure that there are effectively quite a few sub groups of key joinings that would be sufficient to do decryption.

        I haven't read Applied Cryptography since the 1990's. But I do remember, about page 100, (remember this is pre 9/11) the author talks about cryptography and how the government could severely curtail privacy if, say, there were a major terrorist attack, say on New York. Amazing foresight.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Question about Key Generation

          I would not call this amazing foresight.

          NY is a big target and they were bombed before 9/11 anyways. Plus add to that the history of Government setting up slippery slopes all over the place and you have someone who can understand history, unlike the vast majority of humans on the planet.

          There is a reason we are doomed to repeat history.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 2:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Question about Key Generation

          ... I do remember, about page 100...
          My copy of Schneier is packed away in a box right now.

          But these days, we have some more up-to-date references.

          Along those rough lines, I've had one book on my reading list for the past couple months now (Gutmann, 2014, Engineering Security (draft)). One of these weeks I'll get around to it... Gutmann's draft probably doesn't cover secret-sharing schemes, though.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: Question about Key Generation

        If this is what they are actually proposing, then the answers to my key generation and distribution questions seem to guarantee that there can never be any privacy and there certain to be massive unauthorized access (at least the possibility of it).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:52am

    front doors

    “I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.”

    Rogers doesn't point out that it's actually a separate front door, next to your regular front door, and you don't get any of the keys to this one. I guess it wouldn't sound so reasonable if he did...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:59am

      Re: front doors

      I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks. Opened by keys that we can readily access any time we feel like it, with no controls or oversight, and without leaving a trace.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:53am

    One idea: have the key self destruct after use...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:00pm

      Re:

      That would be nice, but it has the problem of being impossible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      As john said, it's impossible. Basically you are asking for DRM on the key. But it's literally logically impossible to hide something from someone after you've already shown it to them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        I hadn't thought of the DRM-protected key idea. That wouldn't work for the exact reason you say. I was thinking of the idea of a key that can be used only once but becomes ineffective after that.

        The only way to accomplish that is to reencrypt whatever data has been accessed so that it uses a different key and the old key will no longer work. This is unworkable from a performance and logistical point of view, but more importantly would be 100% ineffective -- all that would need to be done to work around it is to decrypt the data on a system that won't do the reencryption step.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:56am

    What kind of Ceremony is required to assemble a key?

    Is it something like trying to launch a nuclear attack? Something that requires major effort and controls.

    Or is it something like searching the pockets and all encrypted data of someone stopped for jaywalking? Something that will be done so widely and routinely that no effective controls actually exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:59am

    It's the landlord with key issue

    When I rented my home the landlord gave me a set of keys. He kept one. Shortly after moving in I went out and bought new locks and replaced them myself... which I will gladly give him the keys to when I move out. He has no key to my doors. Period.

    So, when the government requires front door keys why won't the guys they are REALLY worried about just use a different lock? The US laws won't apply EXCEPT for import restrictions... and why is the bad guy going to care that he downloaded a torrent file that has an import restriction when whatever he's hiding behind the encryption is far more nefarious that some stupid government law about which software he's "allowed" to use in the US?

    The answer: He doesn't give a crap... and guess what... the gov has no front door, back door or anything else regardless of what law they pass.

    See, the gov has this fantasy that that criminals follow laws. If he's hiding something in encryption which is illegal why would he care if his encryption software was legal?

    So does this help catch terrorists or pedophiles like they claim it will? No. Those people, or at least those with an IQ over 80 will still be using stuff without giving the landlord a key. Everyone else is either stupid or not hiding something they feel the government wants to see.. Say a man hiding pics from his wife of his new girlfriend...

    Totally pointless idea that just needs to die now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re: It's the landlord with key issue

      But once they mandate this new golden key mechanism, then all of the existing knowledge, books teaching existing algorithms, and existing source code to encryption software will all just magically no longer exist, somehow.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tek, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:15am

    I foresee the following

    So, USA gets keys for everyone.

    First, the UK says "me too", and the USA says "OK".

    Then, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand say "Me 3, 4, 5" (eyes, get it). And the USA says "OK".

    After that, Europe says we want it, and the USA can't say no, because of the amount of mutual trade, and various trade agreements.

    Next, Russia and China draft the same laws, and US firms demand to be allowed to sell there. So they get keys. Rinse, repeat worldwide.

    Meantime hackers already have all parts of the US key, and it's available to anyone for free on bittorrent.

    And so - encryption is gone. And suddenly the US says "what about all our financial transactions???"

    -tek

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  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:15am

    Security would be a crime

    The technical impossibility of secure backdoors is on par with the attempt to outlaw secure systems. What are they going to do? Outlaw imported tech? Outlaw downloading security patches? Outlaw fixing or replacing compromised hardware?

    Backdoors don't make sense except as a means to exploit and/or persecute law-abiding citizens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:18pm

      Re: Security would be a crime

      Outlaw all existing printed books about cryptography?

      And outlaw all existing source code for effective cryptographic software?

      Good luck with that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    radix (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:20am

    Four pieces

    One each in the hands of the CIA, NSA, FBI, DEA.

    What could go wrong?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:20am

    Mary had a little key - she kept it in escrow,
    and everything that Mary said, the feds were sure to know.
    - Sam Simpson

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:29am

    And other countries?

    Well, Mission Accomplished for the US. But what about other countries?

    Will their government be willing to use programs where the US government - and only the US government - has a back door? Or will the US government share the keys (in pieces) with the other Five Eyes countries? Let alone Germany and the rest?

    Will foreign corporations - or foreign subsidiaries of American corporations - allow the use of programs where the US government has a back door? Knowing full well that the NSA and others have used their spying for economic espionage?

    With the inevitable availability of programs WITHOUT back doors for everyone outside the US - including open source solutions - what stops Americans from using them too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:35am

    The door analogy

    They keep using the door analogy. The reason I would guess is so that they can dumb the discussion down, or a least make it sound like a 'friendly & for national security' thing that they want to do. I am sick of the door analogy personally, especially after Michael Rogers said "I don't want a back door, I want a front door". There are no 'doors' in encryption. If anyone has a key other than you, it is NOT encryption.

    My suggestion is that if they want to use the door analogy they have to use it the whole way and include it in the context of the doors on your house. Imagine the government 'floating' an idea of all the lock manufacturers had to have a master key that was handed over to the government that allowed them to come into your house whenever they wanted to. This is what they are asking for....

    Wake up people, the sound you hear is the sound of marching jack boots plodding slowly closer to a police state. Like a light rain on a tin roof, it started as a whisper which lulled to sleep, now it is a thunderous roar which can hardly hear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 2:17pm

      Re: The door analogy

      If anyone has a key other than you, it is NOT encryption.

      If no-one but you has a key, it is not useful, except to protect a backup. The problem with keeping encryption secure is managing the keys needed by the communicating parties while preventing others from breaking into the communications. This protection includes preventing spyware from running on the computers involved in the communications.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:07pm

        Re: Re: The door analogy

        If no-one but you has a key, it is not useful, except to protect a backup.

        That's not true (assuming by "you" you mean "only one person"). If I encrypt a message using your public key, nobody but you has the decryption key. Still very useful.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 2:27pm

      Re: The door analogy

      Indeed.

      The door analogy holds in a different way, too. Because it is in line with my hacker nature, I learned to pick (physical) locks decades ago. One of the things that I learned was that locks that accept a master key are much easier to pick than locks that don't accept a master key.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:44am

    Secret sharing

    It sounds like any of the "multi-part master password" schemes rely on two (or more) of the secret holders to share information.

    So any multi-part password would remain "more secure" up until the first time it was used, and never again thereafter. So where is the security benefit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scatman (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:47am

    it's just paving the way for prophesy

    Revelation 13:11-18

    Yeah, I know; call me a religious nut. I'll be that; I welcome the ridicule. Yet no one can honestly deny that all of the technology (monitoring systems, tracing systems, surveillance systems, erosion of privacy, GPS, RFID, yada, yada, yada...) is consistently heading to a point in time where one political leader can monitor almost everyone...but I'm nut.

    So what's the fix? Buy a gun and move to the desert? No. Accept Jesus Christ as your savior and escape Hell and/or the tribulation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:47pm

      Except Jesus is in on the take.

      It's a multi-party scam.

      But they can only watch us and abuse us so far before they realize there are so many more of us than them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:21pm

      Re: it's just paving the way for prophesy

      In the 1970's I wondered how Rev 13:11-18 could ever come to be. After all the US would have to radically change. Abandon its freedoms.

      I'm sure you are not the only person to have privately made this observation. But hey, there is at least what the third angel says in Rev 14:9-12.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 11:48am

    it seems this would violate the Fifth Amendment

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:13pm

    Stupid Idea - Easily Broken

    The problem is not just, as others point out, that the key eventually is assembled and may be compromised sometime during that process... The question is - what is the purpose of this key? Unless it's intended for one-a-generation 9/11 events, it is simply a tool for law enforcement and will be used frequently, any time a court rubber stamps its use. So not only will the key be assembled frequently, but by implication many people will have and use the pieces many times - thus multiplying the opportunities to break it. After all, they don't have to get a complete key each time - they could also get a different part each time it is used until they can assemble a whole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:17pm

    Gah!

    When the government has all of the "pieces", who is going to keep them from joining them all? The leaders of the NSA, FBI, DHS, DOJ, et al should be fired for being incompetent in their jobs!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Gah!

      Perhaps the best way this could have been handled is for the the tech community to convince them that a master key already exists that has been broken up into pieces that are currently hidden in secret places around the world.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:40pm

      Re: Gah!

      The leaders of the NSA, FBI, DHS, DOJ, et al should be fired...
      Elections have consequences.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 12:44pm

    Security vs Privacy

    The discussion the NSA wants to have is what privacy are we willing to give up for "security"?

    The problem with this thinking is that they are not equivalent in any way.

    While it is possible to have 100% privacy it is not possible to have 100% security. The question should be framed to adequately reflect the NSA's intentions:

    "Are you willing to give up 100% of your privacy for 0% increase in security?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      radix (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:42pm

      Re: Security vs Privacy

      The biggest problem with that "tradeoff" is that it implies that one will be increased with the decrease of the other. When it comes to encryption, Privacy == Security, and any harm to one necessarily harms the other.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:52pm

      Re: Security vs Privacy

      I agree that the people who portray "privacy" and "security" as mutually exclusive are wrong, I have to disagree with this:

      "While it is possible to have 100% privacy"

      It is no more possible to have 100% privacy than it is to have 100% security. They both can only be achieved the same way: by completely isolating yourself from any chance of interacting, even indirectly, with other human beings.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:40pm

    Any key is a vulnerability...no matter how many pieces it's split into.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      Also, even IF the government had part of it, they would simply take the other part from whoever they wanted - case and point look at the sim card master keys they stole....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:59pm

    They could promise to be the most transparent and accountable administration to date, oh wait they already did that.

    Maybe people will start using whatever brainpower they have and realize they say whatever they think people will believe. The white house doesn't care about your rights only enriching themselves at the peasants expense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 1:59pm

    The door analogy

    They keep using the door analogy. The reason I would guess is so that they can dumb the discussion down, or a least make it sound like a 'friendly & for national security' thing that they want to do. I am sick of the door analogy personally, especially after Michael Rogers said "I don't want a back door, I want a front door". There are no 'doors' in encryption. If anyone has a key other than you, it is NOT encryption.

    My suggestion is that if they want to use the door analogy they have to use it the whole way and include it in the context of the doors on your house. Imagine the government 'floating' an idea of all the lock manufacturers had to have a master key that was handed over to the government that allowed them to come into your house whenever they wanted to. This is what they are asking for....

    Wake up people, the sound you hear is the sound of marching jack boots plodding slowly closer to a police state. Like a light rain on a tin roof, it started as a whisper which lulled to sleep, now it is a thunderous roar which can hardly hear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:31pm

    Question

    I'm no crypto genius, but lets say these idiots make their broken crypto key and convinced all of the tech giants to get on board.

    How hard would it be to close this door...permanently?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:53am

      Re: Question

      Any such action would apply to the systems manufacturers. You will still be able to use your own crypto systems, just as you can now, without sharing anything with the government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re: Question

        You will still be able to use your own crypto systems, just as you can now...
        Do you need a url for “Why Johnny Can't Encrypt” ?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 3:52pm

    Bypassing crypto to get data anyhow

    Police Technical: iOS8 Mobile Operating System Encryption Issues
    When an iOS 8 device is locked - a new encryption feature will not allow even Apple technicians to access the device. This whitepaper covers how to access a locked iPhone and features sample search warrant language.


    (H/T FourthAmendment.com blog)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    justme, 13 Apr 2015 @ 5:43pm

    Stupidity . .

    The user needs to decrypt thing with a one key that they fully possess, so it would still be inserting a second route to decryption (back door) which can be exploited!!

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:17pm

    It's just on the tip of my tongue

    I think I've seen this story somewhere. Let's see, where there were many keys...hmmm....and one secret one...hmmm...

    Oh, right, Lord of the Rings:
    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
    One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
    One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
    The Lord of the Rings, Epigraph

    And it worked out so well back then, too, those multiple keys...oops, I mean, rings.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2015 @ 10:53pm

      Re: It's just on the tip of my tongue

      Oh, right, Lord of the Rings
      Mr Obama aspires to Sauron-hood?   Sauron-hoodship?   The White House needs a volcano installed?

      That's an...   ummm...   an interesting perspective.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Coyne Tibbets (profile), 2 May 2015 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re: It's just on the tip of my tongue

        You're missing the point; don't get distracted by Sauron's so-called "person-hood". This is about the rings...I mean, keys.

        There might be multiple keys, but I bet among those will still be just one key, that does the work of all the other keys. One key to rule them all. Because otherwise DEA might get possessive and refuse to share it's key with FBI, and we all know how bad that will be.

        So this promise of key splitting is just nonsense--no matter what, there will be one key that rules them all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 14 Apr 2015 @ 1:04am

    Sauce for the Goose?

    Will the CIA, NSA, and the White House be putting such backdoors into the encryption systems they use for their own communications systems--or will they be expecting to use backdoor-free versions of those systems?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ayn Rand, 14 Apr 2015 @ 1:30am

    objective reality

    "A is A." There is no contradiction.
    "non A is A" is a fücking BIG contradiction;
    wishfull thinking and sheeple debate is not gonna change reality.

    Either you plant exploitable vulnerabilities in your "secure" system or you do not.

    Dear IT Geniuses just read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged:
    You can only follow the governments proposal by ignoring reason.
    Reason is the tool that helps you define reality and keeps you alive.
    If you ignore reason, you are going to die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 14 Apr 2015 @ 2:40am

      Re: objective reality

      I dunno, I see a lot of politicians doing just that and they're still breathing...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Apr 2015 @ 2:05pm

      2 + 2 = 5 -- -- There are four lights

      Out nation seems to be embracing unreason either as a willful effort too desensitize the laity to cognative dissonance or doublethink, or unwittingly by seeking to justify corporate-mandated policy that is contrary to the public good.

      And people find ideology-driven values to be far easier to comprehend than reason.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 3:03am

    One Key to rule them all, One Key to find them,
    One Key to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 5:18am

    The 90's called. They want their stupid arguments back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 5:57am

    So... the people who want encryption will download suitable software not developed to .gov standards... The US gov will have substandard encryption as it uses its own stuff and ordinary users will have easily comprimised security... just like today. This can only be solved at hardware level encryption and then a software tack on will defeat the security flaw when someone wants to develop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:01am

    Why isn't the industry raising hell against this?

    As we have seen with Cisco, if your products are proven somewhat compromised you will lose trust from the market.

    If this front door abomination goes on, nobody who isn't under US heels would accept anything produced in the US or from US corporations.

    Right now there is still the thin veil of a judicial process to uncover any customer data/protection entrusted into US products/services.

    Imagine any US made or developed product (Hardware/Software) is now freely accessible to any n+1 government agencys who would like access to you. And probably without leaving a trace.

    I presume almost no foreign government, corporation or citizen would like this.

    So any product/services would be shunned on the non-domestic market as there could be no trust in it anymore.

    And thats just "legitimate" government actors.
    And thats not even touching on illegitimate actors having access.

    And with the US setting a blazing example, every other government would like to have its own access.
    So say hello to a fractured market.


    I think the front door analogy is more like, we force anyone to have an open front door with multiple signs "government access only. Pretty please"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 14 Apr 2015 @ 9:56am

      Re: Why isn't the industry raising hell against this?

      "Why isn't the industry raising hell against this?"

      Well, it's certainly objecting, but I think "the industry" is picking its battles. There's not a lot of worry about this sort of thing right now because it currently has exactly zero chance of becoming law. Nobody is even considering writing a bill.

      The instant that it looks like it has a chance of becoming real, hell will be raised.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re: Why isn't the industry raising hell against this?

        I think "the industry" is picking its battles.
        Lavabit. Ladar Levison.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2015 @ 7:42am

    "This can only be solved at hardware level encryption and then a software tack on will defeat the security flaw when someone wants to develop it."


    -Look into the Replicant project, OsmocomBB, and coreboot to learn more.

    The way this would have to be done to have any hope of working as intended would be by making bios/efi/uefi into the eqivelent of cellular baseband co-procesors. It would be more then just a backdoor to encryption, but to the entire device architecture. Otherwise, your right- people would just code around it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2015 @ 10:36am

    More big government power grabbing by the Dems

    The Dems won't be satisfied until they can monitor and control every aspect of your life. From not being allowed to buy 32 oz sodas, to spying on your every move.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 11:23am

      Re: More big government power grabbing by the Dems

      The Dems won't be satisfied until they can monitor and control every aspect of your life.

      You're an idiot if you think the Republicans are out there fighting for your privacy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 17 Apr 2015 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: More big government power grabbing by the Dems

        It's even more idiotic when you realize the "32 oz soda" thing being referred to was initiated by NYC's Mayor Bloomberg, who won his first two terms as a Republican and later switch to being an Independent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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