Here We Go Again: Trump Administration Considers Outlawing Encryption

from the not-this-bullshit-again dept

Well, here we go again. According to Politico, on Wednesday, at Trump's National Security Council meeting, a proposal was floated that the administration should back legislation that would outlaw encryption. Of course, that's not how it'll be framed should they actually decide to go down this path. Instead, they'll be nonsense about "responsible encryption" and "lawful access." But, make no mistake, what's being proposed is outlawing encryption.

Senior officials debated whether to ask Congress to effectively outlaw end-to-end encryption, which scrambles data so that only its sender and recipient can read it, these people told POLITICO. Tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have increasingly built end-to-end encryption into their products and software in recent years — billing it as a privacy and security feature but frustrating authorities investigating terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography.

“The two paths were to either put out a statement or a general position on encryption, and [say] that they would continue to work on a solution, or to ask Congress for legislation,” said one of the people.

It's unclear what the final decision was, but if it was to back such a law, we'll know about it soon enough. There are some sensible folks on this issue -- including some from the intelligence communities who actually understand the security value of encryption. The State Department and Commerce Departments are both also said to support keeping encryption legal. It's mostly the law enforcement folks who are against encryption: including parts of the DOJ and FBI, ICE and the Secret Service. As if any of those need any more power. Homeland Security (of which ICE is a part) is apparently "internally divided."

It's been said before, but this is not a debate. There is no debate. There is no "on the one hand, on the other hand." There is no "privacy v. security." This is "no privacy and weakened security v. actual privacy and actual security." There's literally no debate to be had here. If you understand the issues, encryption is essential, and any effort to take away end-to-end encryption is outlawing technology that keeps everyone safe. While Senators Feinstein and Burr released a truly dangerous bill a few years back to outlaw encryption, who knows what sort of nonsense would come out of this and whether or not it could actually get enough support in Congress. Hopefully not.

But just the fact that security folks now need to waste a ton of time and energy on this shit all over again is immensely frustrating and wasteful. This debate was over decades ago. There is no reason to do it again.

Filed Under: backdoors, doj, donald trump, encryption, end to end encryption, fbi, going dark, national security council


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:00am

    But but but politiction must do something about <insert myriad of problems here>.

    But you are absolutely correct Mike. There is no debate.

    Additionally: I'm pretty sure outlawing encryption would be about the same as outlawing dead/made up languages and free speech.

    I mean "I found a string of random-sh bytes they are: " and the rest would be illegal speech.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      This just in:

      Encryption community considers outlawing Trump

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 2:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Is this like the fake news President Trump has been commenting about?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2019 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No - it's a joke.

          The fake president makes all sorts of fake twits about fake stuff to fake followers who fake joy when their fake emperor parades around town showing off his new fake clothing to fake supporters of the fake political party standing upon a fake platform of fake promises.

          No wonder they lie so much.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2019 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re:

        They've been playing too much euchre

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:10am

    Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography...

    ...have all become far worse than the problems of terrorism, drugs and child porn, themselves.

    Why again should we be giving them any more power, let alone restricting a technology on which business world wide depends for alleged national security reasons?

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    • identicon
      stine, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornograph

      I agree with you but disagree. We could end terrorism by no longer involving ourselves in other countries. We could end drug trafficking by correctly scheduling all of the currently illegally trafficked drugs. The tough one is ending CP. Anyyone with a $20 camera, an internet connection, and a kid can create and spread it. We can't outlaw $20 cameras; we can't outlaw internet connections; we probably won't outlaw kids so I don't have a solution to this one.

      My problem with these three things is that, compared to the rest of the crimes commited in the U.S., these three are probably among the least frequent which means that the powers that be are simply full of shit.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 7:09am

        Re: Re: Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornog

        A few minor points:

        "We could end terrorism by no longer involving ourselves in other countries."
        That would not end the bloody crusade of the domestic terrorists that some like to ignore.

        "We could end drug trafficking by correctly scheduling all of the currently illegally trafficked drugs."
        That would not stop the big drug dealers and their multinational corporations.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 29 Jun 2019 @ 3:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and child po

          That would not stop the big drug dealers and their multinational corporations.

          Unless you mean the drugs that are already legal(a subject with it's own serious problems) it rather would. If the currently illegal drugs were legalized, which do you think people would rather go to, a source that's been screened to meet certain standards of safety, and due to more open production is likely to be cheaper, or one where the best assurance of quality is 'trust me' and price is likely to be high?

          Legalizing and regulating drugs wouldn't entirely wipe out the drug kingpins, but it would vastly reduce their wealth and thereby power.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2019 @ 6:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and chil

            Yes, the prescription drug pushers that are responsible for many deaths.

            I agree with rescheduling, legalizing, education, etc.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2019 @ 5:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Our wars on terrorism, drug trafficking and chil

            "If the currently illegal drugs were legalized, which do you think people would rather go to, a source that's been screened to meet certain standards of safety, and due to more open production is likely to be cheaper, or one where the best assurance of quality is 'trust me' and price is likely to be high?"

            Likely? I assume legal pot is super cheap in Colorado? Serious question, not American. Here in my Country, where pot is legal, it is half price on the street compared to legal channels(Indoor hybrid, not dirt-weed). Want more info on the drug? Some seed banks provide all the data you need. Or google the strain. It isn't rocket science.

            Why would they be different drugs? Some yes, but not all.
            Oxy is oxy, from the pharmacy, or from the guy who got them from the pharmacy.

            Using same drug as example, the obvious answer to your question is, "where ever the drug is available to be had."

            "Unless you mean the drugs that are already legal(a subject with it's own serious problems) it rather would."
            I believe they did.

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  • icon
    Russ Clarke (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:14am

    Next we'll see that the Trump administration will outlaw brakes on cars because cars with a standard transmission can easily downshift.

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  • icon
    Crayola (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:19am

    "Warrant-compatible encryption"

    The funny thing about wanting warrant-compatible encryption is that warrants don't have any technical features by themselves to decode anything.

    Me: "Hey, I need to get my sunglasses out of your car."
    Friend: "Oh, sure, go ahead." <stands there>
    Me: "Ummm ... I need your keys."

    The warrant is the permission, but what gets you into the car are the keys. What they're really asking for is all the keys but obscuring it by talking about warrants. And once they have them, it'll be really easy to give themselves permission to use them any time they want.

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    • identicon
      ANANONANA, 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:31am

      Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

      That is a rather nice analogy. That said I sure law enforcers would say that they have absolutely no problem breaking down a door whereas encryption is tougher to crack.

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      • identicon
        ANANONANA, 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

        Oops, I should hasten to add that I thinking backdooring all encryption is a totally stupid idea as would any other attempt to "ban" encryption in some way. FFS, they seem to have no idea what the wider implications of it would be in the wider economy (not to mention society) today.

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        • icon
          Gary (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:41am

          Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

          The Warrant is applied to the person with the key - not the vendor.
          Serving the vendor with a warrant to obtain the data is like showing up in Detroit and service Ford for the keys to a locked car in Florida. Then demanding that Ford design their cars to be opened with master keys.

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          • identicon
            kog999, 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

            "The Warrant is applied to the person with the key - not the vendor.
            Serving the vendor with a warrant to obtain the data is like showing up in Detroit and service Ford for the keys to a locked car in Florida. Then demanding that Ford design their cars to be opened with master keys."

            the only reason they don't do that is because it is easier to just hire a locksmith or use a blow touch to get the door off. If a car door could only be opened by a key i'm certain they would try to force Ford to either give them a master key or redesign the doors so it could be opened by another means.

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          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

            Nearly all cars CAN be opened with master keys. One of the lesser known evils about cars. In fact, most car makers only have about 100 different keys for all cars. Certain models can be opened by almost any key for the same model (that was particularly bad about Mazdas in the 90s and 00s).

            Car makers don't like it when you bring this up, but it leads to hilarious/tragic incidents like where identical make cars park near each other and one driver isn't paying attention and drives off in the wrong car, not realizing that even though the key opened/started the car, it wasn't theirs. They get in a wreck and die, and the cops report the wrong person dead going by the registration in the glove box. That happened quite often in Houston when I lived there.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 7:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

              In fact, most car makers only have about 100 different keys for all cars.

              Do you have a source for that comment?

              My VW key (from 2001) is made up of 8 wafers with 4 possible heights, that is 65536 possible combinations.

              My wifes Ford (2007) is of a similar design, so that is two manufacturers that have the possibility of quite a few more than 100 combinations.

              To be honest it is much easier to smash a window!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 9:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

                Easier than a slim jim? I dont think so tim.

                Back in the day it was not uncommon to walk out to the parking lot, unlock your vehicle and get in - only to discover it is not your vehicle.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 12:41pm

                100 different keys

                Just because a key can be made from a wide range of combinations doesn't mean they're necessarily used that way. You might be able to get a locksmith to re-key your car for you to assure it's rare. But yeah, I've heard similar stories.

                But I've also heard about pen-testers lecturing at DEF CON talking about lines of police cruisers all which can be opened and started from a single master key, and that some lines of automobiles are similarly configured with a master key that wasn't supposed to be available to the public but somehow is.

                As our current president has demonstrated for us, the US as a society is generally sloppy when it comes to security. Most of it is enough to keep the unknowledgeable from getting through. That used to be enough where information required research or finding the smart guys and boozing them until they talk.

                But now, we're in an age where knowledge is easily accessible, and DEF CON lectures on Pen-testing and universal keys are available on eBay when they're not available on Amazon, so you can expect car thieves connected to chop-shops can simply unlock / start your car with a master key.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2019 @ 6:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

                Possible combinations does not = combinations used

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:41am

          Re: Re: Re: "Warrant-compatible encryption"

          Ah; something else they're obscuring is that they're not attempting to ban encrypted data, or even encryption software -- they're aiming to ban usable systems that provide an end-to-end encryption service.

          It's still idiotic, but it's actually doable. Banks and stock exchanges would collapse under the sheer volume of security breaches, but hey -- there ARE more insecure ways to implement encryption.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 7:50pm

      Demanding not just keys but doors too

      The warrant is the permission, but what gets you into the car are the keys. What they're really asking for is all the keys but obscuring it by talking about warrants. And once they have them, it'll be really easy to give themselves permission to use them any time they want.

      Worse actually, what they want is for those who build encryption to be required to create a special 'door' just for them that otherwise wouldn't exist, and in so doing create a known vulnerability that wasn't there before.

      They don't just want the keys(that would be bad enough) they want to deliberately add an extra door that they can demand be opened whenever they feel like it, one that will be found and exploited by countless others almost as soon as it's created.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 11:38am

    If the Trump administration can’t read your google search history for French Toast recipes THEN THE TERRORISTS WIN.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:00pm

      Re:

      It's just as much the Media Copyright cartels demanding that they need to scan your files just in case.

      "You can't just scan every communication!"
      "But it's a certainly that some of them will have copyright violations, therefor the only way to be sure is to scan every upload, download, and email. Because it's our corporate right to protect our business!"

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 3:08pm

      Re:

      They can already do that. They already have 95% of your life.

      Fortunately this extraordinary power is in the hands of such enlightened, trustworthy, honorable men.

      It's not like they funded and trained their terrorists or are managing heroin supply chains...

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:06pm

    They may try to outlaw encryption, but that will only elimate the sort of encryption that devices do automagically. There will always be encryption software available for those who are determined to use it. I cannot see how the government can possibly derive any law enforcement benefit from outlawing encryption, since any moderately sophisticated criminal organization can always set up their own encrypted systems with software they can readily obtain. Once again, it's bullshit pr that will only affect the general public's interest in security and secure transactions and have zero law enforcement value.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 2:23pm

      Re:

      Huh? law enforcement could derive tremendus value.
      An all out encryption ban (not exactly what's being proposed) would enable them to arrest & procescure all those pesky non-crimals who still use encryption after such a ban

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 5:42pm

        Re: Re:

        Really? "Gee, I don't know what you did, but you must have done something to fuck up my (hard drive, ssd, etc...) It seems to be unreadable after you fucked with it."

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:08pm

    Huh? What??

    "frustrating authorities investigating terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography. "

    How is it that I know more about this then they do, EVEN TV Programs have shown that Those doing illegal things tend to Not use words that can incriminate themselves..
    HOW in hell is not having Encryption, going to stop anything, EXCEPT the real idiots??

    When Our gov. really wants to kill a bill, or Pass one that WE DONT LIKE.. do they stand out on the corner and tell everyone??
    Or do they do CLOSED doors, Secret meetings? How do you think things have changed so much, With FEW of us noticing?

    OK, if they want this..
    Lets do it to them FIRST.. lets require them to use Those phones/devices with NO encryption.. Just for 1 year..
    Every news agency will be sitting outside, sending TXT msg to Them, that will OPEN the Audio channel to their cellphones, so we can listen to them ANY TIME WE WANT...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:20pm

    It's rather silly to pretend subverting encryption would not provide more security in the form of police and NatSec people being able to more easily monitor the few criminals and ne'er-do-wells that use end-to-end encryption.

    It's just that, generally speaking, such an action would introduce far worse risks than it would mitigate..

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 7:32pm

      Re:

      It's rather silly to pretend subverting encryption would not provide more security in the form of police and NatSec people being able to more easily monitor the few criminals and ne'er-do-wells that use end-to-end encryption.

      Because when you're looking for needles, the best solution is to make the haystack bigger...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 7:26am

      Re:

      Try forming a political party or political pressure group when all the communications are being read by the security services. It's not as though they do not have a history of spying on political movements and trying to suppress them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      I'm curious: do you think all attackers that qualify as national security risks are morons?

      Anyone who knows anything about communicating securely would still be able to trivially use encryption to communicate.

      The only people who will be harmed by the are people who want to comply with the law, and people who don't know enough to use real encryption.

      The tools to use encryption are already publically available. The information needed to make your own is already public knowedge.

      The only way to stop criminals from using encryption (short of, for example, aprehending them) should be to somehow rip the knowledge of most math from the brains of most humans on the planet. (If that sounds doable to you... good luck).

      A large number of five year old (re)invent simple (and terribly insecure) encryption.

      While we're banning things to make the world a better place, can we ban crime as well? 'Cause surely making commiting a crime itself a criminal offense will disuade all the criminals from doing bad things.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:25pm

    How will anyone accomplish bank transactions?
    I guess it is the end of business using the internet to transfer funds and shit like that.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:27pm

    Double standard in the making

    I imagine the powerful and connected will still be able to use full encryption end to end even if they manage to get a law passed. Somehow the average person wont be able to anymore. Even if they decide its better to get rid of real encryption entirely a lot of them will see it as a win.

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” ― Anatole France

    This quote is relevant to me because this mindset to get rid of encryption hurts the average person the most. The rich and powerful have many many ways to protect their interests that have nothing to do with encryption.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:49pm

      Re: Double standard in the making

      I imagine the powerful and connected will still be able to use full encryption end to end even if they manage to get a law passed.

      Make that "everyone will still be able to use full encryption" because there are plenty of free encryption tools out there for download, many of which are not made in the US that could still be used. Also, theft is illegal, yet here we are.

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Re: Double standard in the making

        That concept will only work if both ends have the necessary encryption/deencrypt software, oh and the keys. Try setting that up with your bank, Amazon, Steam, or any other online seller/service that needs your money/credit/debit card information.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: Double standard in the making

          True, but that doesn't mean those companies can't use those tools too. And they likely would, given it's in their best interests.

          As far as I understand, what's being talked about is not outlawing people and companies using encryption, just outlawing American companies from baking it into their products that would typically be snooped on by law enforcement (cell phones, messaging, etc...). I really don't think they are at the point of suggesting the outlawing of ALL uses of encryption, such as banks, storefronts, etc... The uproar from that community would be a sight to behold.

          Now that doesn't mean they aren't just completely ignorant and naive and not thinking about the full implications of what they are suggesting. But at least from some of the talking points I've heard, they seen to be just targeting smartphone makers and larger social media/communication platforms/services because law enforcement wants all the things, is lazy, and "google bad".

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        • icon
          Adrian Cherry (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 2:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: Double standard in the making

          With the risk of sailing perilously close to Godwin's Law the next stage will be to be ban books. Who needs software when the pesky terrorists can use a simple book cipher?

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          • icon
            Adrian Cherry (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Double standard in the making

            I know it's bad form replying to ones own post but just thinking about encryption software and the book cipher.

            I'm sure you could write a very simple awk script linked to the Gutenberg project so that it would very easily and quickly convert a message to a book cipher and reverse the code back to the message. Add in a little agreed offset to the book, page and line numbering to prevent brute force cracking and I think you'd be able to engineer a fairly secure automated system.

            I've no doubt there are much better thought out encryption systems but it appeals to my old school engineering to have an automatic book cipher.

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  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:30pm

    Encryption is just math, but codes are art.

    The one thing I never see mentioned is encryption is relatively new, but codes have been around for centuries. One time pads and book ciphers have been around almost as long as there have been books. If "going dark" was a thing, why didn't J. Edgar Hoover whine about codes and needing code breakers?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 4:14pm

      Re: Encryption is just math, but codes are art.

      Really things have been 'gone dark' for quite a long time - since radio and code books were around at least. Perhaps the real issue is that it didn't interfere with his political power. It isn't the espionage which concerns them but the ability to be beyond their control.

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:31pm

    As the saying goes

    When encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will use encryption.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 12:42pm

    it will of course apply to Trump and all aspects of the government, as well as all security forces and companies and, of course, all to do with Wall Street and every developing company too!

    yeah! right!

    as with all governments in all countries, the only threat they see is the public finding out what lying, cheating assholes those above are! the public just want to maintain the rights and freedoms won over hundreds of years, instead of being under the rule of tyranny!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      My family, my relatives and my ancestors fought and some died protecting these assholes are steeling and doing everything in their power to throw our rights, freedoms and liberties down the shithole.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:35pm

    Dump Trump 2020*

    Here We Go Again: Trump Administration Considers Outlawing Encryption

    News Flash - Trump Administration has been weighed, measured and found to be wholly-lacking.

    It's mostly the law enforcement folks who are against encryption: including parts of the DOJ and FBI, ICE and the Secret Service. As if any of those need any more power.

    It reads as if the same sad gang of perpetual ever-lasting never-changing power hungry bureaucrats operating within the US government - spanning Clinton through Trump - are again trumpeting their tissue paper thin fear narrative of "going dark" and "the terrorists will win" if powerful data encryption has not been outlawed or rendered functionally inert for law enforcement folks ease of investigation.

    Only a tyrannical/authoritarian government would willingly and unnecessarily expose "citizens" (the author of this comment has used scare quotes to denote the fact that "citizens" in America today are treated as mere subjects) personal data to possible exploitation/theft so it can surveil/store every possible detail of their lives. For the "citizens" safety of course.

    *Not that voting Republican/Democrat in 2020 will actually change anything. As any fair minded analysis will affirm both GOP/Dem parties are wholly responsible for the current downtrodden state of affairs afflicting most working class persons in America today.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:58am

      Re: Dump Trump 2020*

      Exactly true. No matter what side of the aisle tHEY purport to support, their agendas mesh with the nwo and are turning Americans into cows.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: Dump Trump 2020*

        Either you give us your milk or we'll take your beef and grind your bones to make our tea.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:38pm

    Blah blah blah

    He’s not smart enough to enforce something like that if he did lol
    Technology is magic to him. Even someone with basic knowledge of it already has him outmatched if they refused to listen to his word.

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 28 Jun 2019 @ 1:43pm

    I'm curious what would happen to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      -what’s a bitcoin? Is it an atm?
      —the Donnie

      Gladness and gentlemen this is man that could be voted out of office possibly refuse to leave and threaten to go nuclear and then forget his own codes...

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 2:25pm

    Eventually you will agree with me...

    But just the fact that security folks now need to waste a ton of time and energy on this shit all over again is immensely frustrating and wasteful. This debate was over decades ago. There is no reason to do it again.

    If the ones involved in pushing crippled encryption were interested in a debate, that would be true, as no amount of talking will change the underlying ideas and facts, and therefore rehashing the same thing over and over would be a complete waste of time.

    However, they are most certainly not interested in an honest debate, and instead appear to be operating under the idea that if they just keep bringing it up eventually the other side will give in, if only to shut them up, and/or fold due to public pressure from the liars constantly arguing that working encryption is a threat to the public and the companies are just too greedy to admit it.

    Those attempting to undermine public security and safety for their own ends aren't interested in an honest discussion or debate, all they want is for the other side to nod along and agree with whatever they want, and they are willing to 'ask'/demand however many times it takes to achieve that goal.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 3:26am

      Re: Eventually you will agree with me...

      On a somewhat related note:

      I work in IT. Some management types will keep asking if the delivery date for a project can be set earlier. They are not interested in an honest estimate or in time/quality trade-off, they just keep nagging until the other side gives in. And they won't take the blame when the deadline is too tight, and a crappy product is delivered.

      The only answer to such a question is: "Are you willing to pay the price?"

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 3:17pm

    Them vs. us

    THEY don't want to ban encryption for everyone.
    THEY want to ban encryption for us.
    THEY will exempt THEMselves from any such ban.
    After all, encryption is necessary to secure national... security.

    This is yet another attempt to erode our rights, and increase the power gap between "authorities" and "civilians."

    Ehud
    Note: cops are civilians. So are firefighters. After 2001/09/11 they've pushed a narrative that they are not. Yeah, they are.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 3:55pm

    Is it even possible to outlaw encryption? How would they stop children from talking pig latin?

    Are they going to confiscate my Captain Midnight Decoder Ring?

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

    • icon
      Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 4:07pm

      Is it even possible to outlaw encryption

      While the talk is of 'outlawing' encryption, as you and others have pointed out, anything from pig latin to literally saying numbers and letters (let alone Morse 'Code') are constitutionally protected forms of speech.

      The solution to this non-problem in the 1990s was 'The Clipper Chip', a purposely broken encryption/decryption mechanism that The Authorities™ could decrypt its output anytime. It was going to be 'mandated' as THE ONLY method to encrypt in the US. As a result of this and other such brilliant ideas, people outside the US developed FOSS encryption software (e.g. PGP) that worked around Clipper.

      See:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_chip

      I don't think they'll ever 'outlaw' encryption... but mandating a method they can break... they can certainly do that.

      It still doesn't prevent four people in a park from whispering to each other. Wait till they mandate a minimum vocal amplitude, and a requirement to let 'The Authorites' know when you intend to have a meeting so they can attend or record.

      Ehud

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 4:27pm

        Re: Is it even possible to outlaw encryption

        Yeah, I remember the clipper chip. They said it was for protection but did not specify for whom.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2019 @ 12:09am

      Re:

      "Is it even possible to outlaw encryption?"

      It's not. But, it would introduce the state they presumably want, which is that the majority of the public are able to be constantly monitored, while the knowledgeable people who protect themselves would instantly become criminals.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Do children today even know igpa atinla?

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

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 28 Jun 2019 @ 4:45pm

    1st Amendment

    If I choose to have a discussion with a person, it is my right to express myself how I want to do so.

    I choose encryption.

    Of course, the current crop of knuckle draggers (and many of their predecessors) have no intention of respecting The Constitution, much less all the nonsense in those pesky Bill of Rights.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:38am

      Re: 1st Amendment

      What right does the United States of America government have to be domestic spies, spying on ALL DOMESTIC COMMUNICATIONS and Anonymously at that? The patriot act give them that right?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re: 1st Amendment

        I really want to know because that sue as FUCK sounds like NAZI GERMANY in the late 1930s. God damn them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:15am

      Re: 1st Amendment

      ..it is my right to express myself how I choose to do so... I choose encryption.

      "That's nice. NOW GET IN THE BACK OF THE VAN AND SHUT UP.. geez."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 4:55pm

    For those who abhor messages they are unable to read:

    paAI+Dm12ryKcvQ7ALIRQQWjnQQ2lVi80m4TSPScKX8=

    (Don't worry an automated system generated and disgarded the key)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 5:24pm

    I think they're going to have to amend the 1st amendment to say "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, so long as that speech can be understood by the government ...

    They're essentially saying we can't speak in code.

    (The above in code, with a password of "a")
    0gNkEYWvFl2UWuBeUARE2Uv/g8sZRJsJM2w6XEG17P5J0cK37Ys/LgEtAywf578c0
    Sm6bNhnUYzfc+WrWi4y acPlSrgI6v1bBANrGXw5Kuk3hIB6OsU1gaerDy4/8GUk0t
    Ak5uFolXS2eRVi4tzW0URDxjH93RWTu1pDbka14I6Mys7kaZeRZcP R9X3X/875B9Y
    xJsuigeltC8dKQGP/px6ZG9bqbq80YdNqxN72yOjxN1cbvEG7Q8d52/5J9XjCoI46
    ZVnQNTwtzLfjmUODdhWAc hDS++qgA9PkUJ5jr8bF844wsyiwhqTYL6ON9PCTsf4hR
    6KlGW5RM60WB/Q=

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2019 @ 5:52pm

    Hey Mike:
    I'd like a signed copy of this article... you do have a published asymetric signing key right?

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Jun 2019 @ 7:02pm

    I’m Sure It’s Only Liberal Encryption They Want To Outlaw

    If there was any good Conservative Encryption, I imagine they would be all over that like a rash.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:27am

    This government continues to go down these roads destroying freedom and liberty, I won't be surprized to see a nation of atmospherically sickened, fluoridated, vaccinated and fracked hydrated zombees walking on Washington DC.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:50am

    I don't think they realize...

    Outlawing secure cryptography will destroy banking and e-commerce in the US.

    But since this is Trump, maybe that is the goal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:54am

    Cryptographers: "We've upped our game, now up yours!"

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

  • icon
    Brent Ashley (profile), 29 Jun 2019 @ 9:55am

    Scope

    I'm perplexed that the scope of this encryption debate always seems to be limited to encrypted messages between humans that the govt wants to be able to see, or file and disk encryption used by miscreants on their phones and computers. That's just the bathwater, and it's full of babies whose loss would have much greater impact. Outlawing (or invalidating the efficacy of) encryption is nothing less than the outlawing of secure communication. The entire world's business and financial systems rely on the confidential transfer and storage of information. The very same highly-placed people who press for broken encryption would stand to lose everything in very short order. The entire payment card industry (PCI) knows the value of encryption; how is it that these folks can have missed the boat? You can't talk about encryption and not know that the scope of the conversation encompasses the very foundations of commerce. Corporate and personal information would be free for the taking in a world where secure communication is made ineffective. Passwords transferred and stored without valid encryption are practically worthless and will soon be found and published, as they already are in places where people do not use effective security measures. Why are people not asking the proponents of these measures how they expect to continue to trust online banking, corporate WANs, DRM and a host of other technologies they rely on to remain stable and powerful, when compromised? Even if they think the master keys are secure in their own govt hands, surely in this polarized political climate they should see the problems inherent in the process of transitioning from one regime to the next. You may not trust the keyholders down the road.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:28am

      Re: Scope

      This sacrificing America's secure communications is exactly what they are intending for much more nefarious plans that are in the works for the identification and financial overhaul of every American first and then the rest of what we know as the free world.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Scope

        Watch the future of banking financial breaches, personal and huge corporate losses from seeming attacks on security usher America to a precipace of unsecurity that will let the government force new means of mandatory identification and links to all personal, medical and financial records to a single implanted chip in your hands. This ain't conspiracy theory baby. This is going to happen in a few short years. They are going to speed things up now if they are going to destroy encryption now. Wait for it!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 10:48am

      Re: Scope

      They will allow secure encryption between individuals and corporations, so long as corporations hand over their records whenever a government agent asks for them.

      What that really dread is the idea that people could organize using communications the government cannot read when people engage in legal political activity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 5:42pm

    Good luck banning math!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2019 @ 7:04pm

    I will continue using the VPN server on my home network no matter what

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2019 @ 5:50am

    Intelligence Maligns

    "There is no ,on the one hand, on the other hand.'"

    Classic "Teach the Controversy" propaganda.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2019 @ 11:48am

      Re: Intelligence Maligns

      Yep.. on one hand the moon is made of green cheese. On the other rocks that contain information about out past. Better asume it’s cheese so we don’t offend people

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2019 @ 9:50am

    So basically this administration wants to outlaw online banking, remote payments, credit card machines, ATMs, online shopping etc?

    Why don't they just make VISA and mastercard "banned terrorist organizations" and be done with it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2019 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      Because that's not the actual goal.
      The actual goal is either: a power grab, or a declaration of assholishness.

      Opinion on which it actually is varies wildly.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 3:11am

    Geez govt, you cant even include the fourth horseman

    terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography

    and money laundering.

    C'mon govt, follow you own script.

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

  • identicon
    Pete Austin, 1 Jul 2019 @ 6:51am

    How about encryption for Subscription Phones onl?y

    Repeat criminals prefer prepaid burner phones using cash, right? So disable strong encryption on only that type of phone.

    But people why buy standard phones, which involves presenting ID at the time of purchase, keep all the protection they get now.

    This would be easy enough technically - you just need two versions of the operating system, with different security libraries linked in.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 7:15am

      Re: How about encryption for Subscription Phones onl?y

      You have that completely wrong, I'm afraid. Some types of criminal use burner phones, but plenty of other types are OK with the same phones everyone else wants. ID at the point of purchase won't stop fraud, theft or other means to bypass that requirement. Meanwhile an OS-level check won't really work all that well when the most popular OS is open source, and it's easy enough to reinstall the OS from an external image.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 12:05pm

        Burner phones

        There's also the matter that journalists -- who have a legitimate need for encryption and also find themselves antagonistic to large institutions -- often use burner phones.

        But both would respond in the same way: jailbreak their phone and install a custom OS that has all the encryption they want.

        Currently, journalists have to take a virgin unbooted phone through customs and then install their OS and data from an encrypted block to which they don't have the key until they phone home, otherwise the TSA will insist on having a look.

        Heh, if a nation did succeed in hobbling default encryption on standard OS releases, it might give legitimacy to jailbreaking -- currently regarded as a violation of the DMCA (ergo copyright infringement?) essentially putting us in the same situation as speeding where not doing so means traveling slower than the flow of traffic.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 9:20am

      Re: How about encryption for Subscription Phones onl?y

      Oh - that will solve everything.

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

  • identicon
    JdL, 1 Jul 2019 @ 9:02am

    Sorry, government: you lose

    I'm glad to say this is one the thugs in government can't win. They can stamp their little feet and scream (just as they're doing in the meeting referenced here), but they can't enforce broken encryption on anyone. As a last resort, people can employ steganography, which conceals information inside a music or image file and also conceals that anything is being concealed. They'd have to stop the transmission of any such files (or pretty much any large file) to prevent this.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 12:27pm

      False-bottom phones.

      Multi-account encryption, where different passwords on the same block of data will open different files (my AD&D world and character notes / my child-porn stash / my terrorist plans to blow up skyscrapers) has been around for at least ten years. This could confound a court when the file is opened to reveal a tedious library of innocuous files. This could also prompt courts to hold suspects in contempt for not opening the one more account where the incriminating data really is. (US Courts are known to routinely take seriously accusations made by unreliable witnesses.)

      We've also had for some time encryption schemes that are indistinguishable from garbage on unused data sectors. Again, the courts could be confounded, or -- if they really really want to nail a guy -- insist that actual unused data sectors are encrypted data and, again, hold him in contempt for years for not opening it up for all to see.

      I know the courts have held people in contempt for as long as fourteen years and people have been held in contempt for not unlocking blocks of encrypted data. I don't know if the courts have been confronted with either of the above schematics or how they responded. (I cynically expect, poorly.)

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

  • identicon
    AJ, 1 Jul 2019 @ 10:27am

    "But the previously unreported meeting of the NSC’s so-called Deputies Committee did not produce a decision, the people said."

    "POLITICO was unable to determine what participating agency leaders said during the meeting, but there is a well-known fault line on encryption within the executive branch."

    "An NSC spokesperson declined to comment on the meeting."

    The quoted story seems highly suspect to me. So no decision, unable to determine what was said, and no comment after the fact. Then I read the story more carefully. Here are their sources; "three people familiar with the matter", "one of the people", "the people said.", "a lobbyist familiar with the discussions".

    I appreciate the importance of this topic, and I would like to do some additional research on this particular meeting. Anyone have any links quoting real people as sources or some type of documentation of some sort aside from "a lobbyist familiar with the discussions"?

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 1 Jul 2019 @ 11:02am

    We need to hear from everyone about this

    This is just another sign of the dumbing down of society where we have to consider everyone's opinion before making a decision:

    • Do vaccines cause autism? Debate the pron and cons and then choose whether or not to vaccinate your kids.
    • The Earth is flat. Debate the pros and cons.
    • Is climate change real? Debate all points, including the fact that "big climate" wants you to think the ice caps are melting.
    • Was Obama really born in Kenya or is every one of his birth certificates actually fake?
    • Was the US government behind 9/11? Let's hear from the "truthers" since they have information they don't want you to hear.

    I'd say this is sarcasm, but sadly way too many people believe these things.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2019 @ 2:22pm

      Re: We need to hear from everyone about this

      Just because you are happy to believe whatever you want does not mean you are accurate.

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


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