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FBI Director Deploys Straw Men While Calling For The End Of Straw Men Arguments In The Encryption War

from the let-he-who-is-without-straw... dept

The DOJ's anti-encryption summit went off without a hitch. And why wouldn't it? No one who had anything good to say about encryption was invited. The only speaker without a history of criticizing encryption was John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted," who detailed the kidnapping of his son -- an event that took place long before encryption was viewed as an impediment to law enforcement.

Using a bit of the FOSTA playbook, but skewing it younger to facilitate appeals to emotion, the "summit" attempted to discuss the "creation" of "lawless spaces" resulting from end-to-end encryption. Facebook was front and center as the recent recipient of a letter from Attorney General William Barr, asking it to ditch its plans to encrypt Messenger communications.

Barr (who's already made his feelings about encryption clear) was joined by Deputy AG Jeffrey Rosen, FBI Director Chris Wray, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Australia's Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton. No one representing the tech industry was included. Nor were any encryption experts. This was a preach-to-the-converted type of event and the speakers all made the most of it.

FBI Director Chris Wray offered his unsurprising take on encrypted communications: he's against it. Not that his opinion should be considered in any way an "expert" opinion. He runs an agency that can't even correctly count the number of encrypted devices it has in its possession. And it's the same agency where officials did everything they could to avoid unlocking a seized phone in a mass shooting case in hopes of securing favorable court precedent. Wray frequently presents the hardest skew on the issue (at least at the federal level), and his comments at the summit were no exception.

[I]f we don’t confront these real-life horrors happening to real people, if we don’t take action and do something soon to address the lawful access problem, it will be too late and we’ll lose the ability to find those kids who need to be rescued. We’re going to lose the ability to find the bad guys who need to be arrested and stopped. And we’re going to lose the ability to keep the most vulnerable people we serve safe from harm. We just cannot let that happen.

Technology has made life much easier for the good guy—there’s no doubt. But it’s also made life much easier for a wide range of bad guys—including international and domestic terrorists, hackers, opioid traffickers, and child predators. Like other criminals, child predators routinely rely on encrypted phones and laptops to store explicit photographs and exchange illegal media, contact victims, and coordinate with co-conspirators over encrypted messaging platforms.

These devices and platforms have become spaces where vital rules—against soliciting child abuse, against trading in and feeding that abuse, against threatening abuse victims struggling to make a normal life—can no longer effectively be applied.

The key word here is "effectively." Wray wants immediate access in exchange for a warrant. While end-to-end encryption may make it harder to obtain the content of communications from service providers, it does not make it impossible. There are vendors offering tools that can bypass phone encryption to access communication contents. Suspects have been known to volunteer passwords. More than one court has found that the application of biometric features to unlock devices does not violate the Fifth Amendment. Any number of third parties hold data that can give investigators clues about message content and link suspects with conspirators.

Going directly through Facebook -- and Facebook is the unspoken target of this "summit", thanks to its announcement of end-to-end encryption for Messenger -- is just not going to be a very useful option. Wray believes encryption shouldn't be able to defeat a warrant. But that short-sighted view ignores the fact that not every warrant results in the securing of evidence… or enough evidence to secure a guilty verdict.

The issue here is Facebook's plans for Messenger. According to stats mentioned in Barr's letter (and comments delivered by others), 70% of Facebook's 16 million child exploitation tips came from this service. Once the encryption is applied, even Facebook won't be able to see the contents of these communications. That's what the FBI, DOJ, and overseas government officials are hoping to prevent.

It's a legitimate concern, but it's being discussed with a lot of illegitimate arguments. Wray tries to pretend it's everyone else being disingenuous while he boldly speaks truth to tech power. But even this assertion is contradicted by Wray's statements.

I’m well aware that encryption is a provocative subject for some. Although I will tell you, I get more than a little frustrated when people suggest that we’re trying to weaken encryption—or weaken cybersecurity more broadly. We’re doing no such thing. And dispensing with straw men would be a big step forward in this discussion. Cybersecurity is a central part of the FBI’s mission. It’s one part of the broader safety net we try to provide the American people: not only safe data, safe personal information, but also safe communities, safe schools.

We also have no interest in any “back door,” another straw man. We—the FBI, our state and local partners—we go through the front door. With a warrant, from a neutral judge, only after we’ve met the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. We’ve got to look at the concerns here more broadly, taking into account the American public’s interest in the security and safety of our society, and our way of life. That’s important because this is an issue that’s getting worse and worse all the time.

Actually, no. It's still really safe and secure in the United States. Our "way of life" is under no greater threat in an era of increased encryption use than it was before this became the FBI's pet issue. In fact, we're safer today in terms of crime rates and terrorist activity than we've been in more than two decades.

Wray has built his anti-encryption side hustle on a pile of straw men. It's pretty rich to see him arguing no one else should have the privilege to argue their points as disingenuously as he has.

People want safety. People want security. These are inextricably intertwined, but Wray thinks it's possible to separate one from the other without a net loss in safety. And he can't even be honest about how he plans to do it. No one on this panel is willing to call the back doors they want "back doors." No, it's always something else. If the front door is the user's access to their communications, anyone coming in through another entrance is likely going to be viewed as using the back door. If the FBI prefers, we could just call it "using the bedroom window." It doesn't really matter what it's called when it's still access to encrypted communications that's achieved by going through anyone else but the end user.

Wray says everyone else -- everyone who doesn't immediately agree the security trade-off the FBI is pitching is worth it -- is wrong. We're allying ourselves with the most heinous criminals and actively thwarting law enforcement. We're all Wray's straw men now.

So to those out there who are resisting the need for lawful access, I would ask: What’s your solution? How do you propose to ensure that the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, sworn to protect you and your families, actually maintain lawful access to the information they need to do their jobs? What will you say to victims who are denied justice—or left unrescued—in the name of some incremental amount of additional data security?

Why limit your appeal to emotion when you can also appeal to authority? That's the rhetoric Wray is delivering to people who think he's right and will never push back against his oversimplifications, even as he decries the oversimplifications of others. What a train wreck.

It's not an "incremental amount." It's either secure or it isn't. It's not an incremental issue. I would say to the imagined crowd of "hardworking law enforcement" officers that demanding people relinquish their security just to make it easier for the government to access private communications is a bullshit deal. I'm sure Wray knows this. He just seems not to care.

Filed Under: chris wray, doj, encryption, fbi, going dark


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:17am

    So to those out there who are resisting the need for lawful access, I would ask: What’s your solution? How do you propose to ensure that the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, sworn to protect you and your families, actually maintain lawful access to the information they need to do their jobs?

    I propose you fuck off and figure it out.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      It was not that many years ago that the information they now want was not available because it was not recorded, yet the police still managed to do their jobs. Beside which, all official front doors will do in enable them to monitor law abiding citizens, while criminals continue to protect their communications using existing algorithms that do not include a front door or a back door.

      This push for broken encryption has much more to do with the protection of the existing establishment, that in catching real criminals. Politicians have been known to classify any opposition to their plans, and especially organization of public protest as being low level terrorism.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re:

        AND an exemption for CERTAIN PEOPLE..not you or I.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 1:00pm

        Re: Re:

        It was not that many years ago that the information they now want was not available because it was not recorded, yet the police still managed to do their jobs.

        But have you ever watched any of those old (pre-1990s) cop movies? They look so tedious! Who wants to do all-night stakeouts anymore, just to find out some trivial piece of information like two people talked to each other? Email records tell you that in 10 seconds, with the full content of that conversation and every past conversation.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's even easier if you do away with trials and let the prosecutors determine the sentence for the accused, as in plea bargaining. That becomes even easier if the prosecutor has every message a suspect has ever sent or received.

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

          • identicon
            bob, 7 Oct 2019 @ 2:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Why waste time with a plea deal just go full judge dred every time and save the government money.

            Its so much easier if you just assume people are guilty.

            :(

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 11:51pm

      Re:

      "...sworn to protect you and your families..."

      According to the Court, that is not their job

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:32am

    "We also have no interest in any “back door,” another straw man. We—the FBI, our state and local partners—we go through the front door. With a warrant, from a neutral judge, only after we’ve met the requirements of the Fourth Amendment......and a back door."

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

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    icon
    Zof (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:33am

    whoah whoah whoah

    We pretend logical fallacies don't exist at all so Google and the Media and the DNC can use them all the time, and pretend it's real logic. I'm not sure if this being honest about logical fallacies idea is going to be compatible with them.

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

  • identicon
    Jason, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:40am

    Show us the way!

    FBI Director Wray could show us all just how important, vital, and safe his plans are and immediately hand over every one of his passwords, PINs, security phrases, login IDs, and reminder hints for every account and system he has access to--public, personal, private, or official--to a "neutral third party" for escrow in case of any need of "lawful access" in the future.

    They'll keep them safe, we swear, and try really hard to never, ever, ever let anyone access it without authorization. Promise!

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:44am

    There is a ray of hope here. I personally think that the likelyhood of the doj, et al, is going to win on the encryption farce is far lower than than the likelyhood the clipper chip was going to be adopted at the time. We all know how that turned out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:53am

    Conflict exists between any society and the criminals who exist within it. It's been this way ever since humans built the first civilizations and created the first laws.

    Society makes something illegal.
    Criminals find a way to do/get that something.
    Society finds a way to prevent criminals from doing that.
    Criminals find a different way to do it.
    ..and so on.

    Even if law enforcement had their perfect, good-guys-only encryption access method, criminals will just find a different way to do what they do.

    This is just a power grab. Law enforcement doesn't like the idea that there's something that is inaccessible to them, so they trot out the old "but the children!" chestnut.

    (Also, it's not completely inaccessible. Any code that can be created can be broken. The encrypted logs would still be obtainable via warrant, they'd just need to crack the code, which, admittedly, might take a while, but it's still possible.)

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      And the best Criminals tend to BE part of the system..
      to create the backdoors, Exempt themselves, install frineds and cronies into place to DO the deeds.

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

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:13pm

      Re:

      Any code that can be created can be broken

      Nope. If this were honestly true encryption wouldn't be an issue for these people.

      Whether or not it's possible depends. Most modern encryption methods are basically impossible to crack. The "take a while" is literally measured in billions of years.

      The much more important point here is that this is ok. We need to accept that not all bad things will be punished or stopped because the consequences of trying to get to that extreme destroy any reasons we could possibly have to care about punishing bad things. What does it matter if we're all effectively in prison our entire lives anyway?

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 1:45am

        Re: Re:

        "Whether or not it's possible depends. Most modern encryption methods are basically impossible to crack. The "take a while" is literally measured in billions of years."

        Yeah, any brute force attack on a modern algorithm will require more resources than currently exist on earth. I've read comparisons stating that the processor capable of brute-forcing a 256-bit cipher would also have to have the capacity to record, in detail, every atom existing in the solar system.

        Every time encryption has been "broken" in modern times it is because parts or the whole of the encryption KEY has been intercepted, rendering the process possible.

        ...which brings us to modern passwords where standard user-friendly encryption used under the hood in almost everything gets defeated by the opposition's ability to throw a dictionary attack at guessing the passkey. It's not exactly hard to "crack" a user account when a standard list of roughly 20000 words and phrases can unlock over 50% of the accounts existing in the english-speaking part of the world.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 11:59am

    WTF?

    "including international and domestic terrorists, hackers, opioid traffickers, and child predators. Like other criminals, child predators routinely rely on encrypted phones and laptops to store explicit photographs and exchange illegal media, contact victims, and coordinate with co-conspirators over encrypted messaging platforms." And what did they do before Smartphones?? When basic cellphones were around, when the Phone on the wall was the Medium. Lets talk about Smart paranoid people FIRST.. HOW do you NOT leave tracks back to yourself? You dont WRITE anything. its Voice only.. Or find a way to make the email FAKE Address, and ghost the Phone ID.. It would be better to Just send a letter and REALLY give them something to scare them.. Make it so a person cant hit REPLY TO SENDER... How secure are cellphones from being hacked?? About average. But they are working on that.. Even Google and Apple are having fun trying to Stop that, and only finding it harder. Abit of hardware for people. That Ram/storage/anything placed in memory or on a hard drive CAN be copied and read(unless you know how to erase it Properly, and it take TIME). Your ram can be read from on a dead phone. copied to another, and the Protection removed, and everything read as if the phone wasnt protected. There are complicated ways to Encode the phone, but if you loose the password, Forget the phone, go buy a new one. It has been covered in the past in many TV shows, how to get a phone worth very little, that has NO SMART features to save anything...USE it, and throw it away, or Crush/destroy it... Or just hand it to a bum or a kid,. and let them have fun when the cops try to trace it. A new number every time. And the person getting strange calls will never Answer a phone again.. " 70% of Facebook's 16 million child exploitation tips came from this service." This I would like to see. Considering Age and access to phones. that is over 1/2 of the children in the USA.. If you add in Teens, its still a pretty large number. I KNOW...That is the number of Run away children reported. Which has been proven to be abit OFF! and might be 1% of that number. And that number is probably from the last 10-20 years.. Only way to exaggerate that more is to have a Chair, Whip and a lion on stage. Anyone hear of the Stinger system?? How to Fake cellphone access while monitoring Criminals?? Understand something special about any of this.. ONCE they are in your phone, Anything they find is illegal. AS well as, IF YOU ARE NOT THERE and they insert your phone into anything to read it...ANYTHING can be installed. And then you are to blame. Think of a note book, and its taken away from you, and the next thing you know is a Bunch of phone numbers and other data is Written in it...YOU ARE LIABLE. And unless you have a Very smart lawyer, you will be spending Short times(a few years at least) back and forth in Jail before you even get to see a judge. Or see he judge many times to get things FIXED..

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:24pm

    Don't ask questions if you don't want the answers

    So to those out there who are resisting the need for lawful access, I would ask: What’s your solution?

    Telling you to do your gorram jobs, which has never included 'access to any and all information desired'.

    How do you propose to ensure that the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, sworn to protect you and your families, actually maintain lawful access to the information they need to do their jobs?

    I don't, you've never had that level of access and yet somehow you've managed to catch criminals before. Mandating broken encryption just to make your job slightly easier, while also making hundreds of millions of people less safe and secure is a trade-off you are not getting.

    What will you say to victims who are denied justice—or left unrescued—in the name of some incremental amount of additional data security?

    Well first I'd find out if that 'additional data security' was actually to blame for a bad guy going uncaught, a victim unfound, or if it was because of laziness, dishonesty and/or incompetence on your part, because let's be honest, you lot don't exactly have the best record for honesty on that front.

    Assuming it actually was, then I'd explain that while I sympathize with their loss putting everyone at risk for the potential to catch a few of the dumber criminals would merely leave even more people in their position, and ask them to keep strong in the face of the lies of those that would undermine their security.

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

  • icon
    JdL (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Back door vs. front door

    Wray: "We also have no interest in any “back door,” another straw man. We—the FBI, our state and local partners—we go through the front door."

    Wray's "front door" is identical to everyone else's use of the term "back door". Memo to Wray: if you want to bullshit people effectively, do so more cleverly than this.

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

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Back door vs. front door

      Kinda like how some people claim that "I'm just really concerned about the possible side effects" isn't "Anti-Vax"?

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

      • identicon
        A Guy, 7 Oct 2019 @ 3:49pm

        Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

        IANAD but vaccines should not be given to children still breast feeding, the very elderly, people with an autoimmune disease that weakens the immune system (these can be genetic conditions, the results of chemotherapy or similar for cancer, or a disease such as AIDS).

        For these people vaccines are dangerous or noneffective depending upon whether it is a live or dead vaccine. This population is a small minority of most of humanity but there are people who should not have vaccines due to weak/abnormal immune systems.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 4:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

          Looks like you need a vaccine again coughing up strawmen.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 5:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

            Strawmen isn't the right word here...

            Their argument is actually extremely valid, especially the part about those with some form autoimmune disease. Though admittedly with babies in general, from what I found most vaccines are given starting at 2 months or 6 months (the exception being the Hepatitis B vaccine dose given up to 12 hours after birth.)

            The CDC's Recommended Immunization Schedule for minors

            Even then, Babies, the elderly, and people with autoimmune diseases, are dependent on others taking their own vaccines. They need the herd immunity because even a cold could spiral into something fatal for them. This is something that they(parents included in the case of babies) are well aware of.

            So really, the groups of people that were outlined are usually pro-vax cause they know that the health of those around them could affect their own.

            As for the rest... yea, strawmen.

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

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 7:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

              "Because God told me vaccines are bad" somehow doesn't quite equate to "My (non-quack) doctor has sworn, under penalty of perjury, that my child will DIE if injected."

              There are medical exemptions. They are legit. But most people who seek exemptions do so because of ignorance, not need.

              Quack doctors writing blanket exemptions to anyone that asks should have their license revoked. (And possibly injected with multiple live samples of contagious diseases to make a point. (JK (Not)).

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 8:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

                Agree with you there, twas what I was getting at with the "as for the rest" at the bottom.

                Though the post I was replying to seemed to imply the medical reasons themselves were strawman arguments. Hence my focus on that rather than anti-vax arguments overall.

                Otherwise, I tip my nonexistent hat to you good stranger.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 1:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

            "Looks like you need a vaccine again coughing up strawmen."

            No, there are valid medical reasons for not administering vaccines to people with a compromised immune system. A vaccine is basically an attempt to use neutralized parts of a virus in order to convince the body to manufacture antibodies targeting said virus.

            For the overwhelming majority of the population this works just fine. To those whose immune system is too trigger happy or otherwise compromised this can be lethal, triggering anaphylactic shock response, which may be lethal.

            This is more or less the same mechanism as people who die of bee stings - the venom itself is harmless, but the person dies to "friendly fire" by his own immune system.

            If a doctor legitimately advises you against vaccination for a good reason that's one thing. That doesn't make said doctor an anti-vaxxer.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

          "IANAD but vaccines should not be given to..."

          There are plenty of medical reasons for people to not be able to take vaccines, and even a small number of people who do have the vaccines but they aren't effective. This is why herd immunity is so important, and why it's so dangerous for idiots not to get their little Typhoid Marys vaccinates.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 12:57am

        Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

        "I'm just really concerned about the possible side effects" is a valid position.

        "I'm just really concerned about the possible side effects, so I'll listen to actresses and debunked studies from fraudsters rather than qualified doctors" is the problematic one.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 2:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

          "Let's not listen to the government - instead, let's listen to celebrities who have won the hearts and minds of people by simply being popular and having a team dedicated to building a likeable persona and manufactured image, that sounds much more legitimate!"

          Differing opinions on celebrities themselves aside, I think it's fair to say that celeb culture as a whole is fucking cancerous.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 12:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Back door vs. front door

            "Let's not listen to the government - instead, let's listen to celebrities..."

            They are the same thing now. The Trump card has been played.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 5:44pm

      Re: Back door vs. front door

      Seriously how the fuck have the measles not kicked your ass yet?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:32pm

    Smartass

    “What’s your solution?”

    Don’t let a temp who works for a guy who can’t hide his own secrets look after the safety of anyone else’s? Lol

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:36pm

    BEFORE SMART PHONES

    What did they do BEFORE smartphones?? To monitor and intercept information.. I know... They bypassed the law and asked the phone company to install monitors... And the crooks still got away.. There is a Strange thing about laws.. You can record anything, but you cant Use it in court without a previous warrant. BUT, you can use the info gotten, in other ways. 1 mafia boss was monitored all to hell, and the Key words were figured out over time, as you use Alternative words. And they finally figured out what was happening, and JUST followed the information.. THEN they got a warrant, and recorded and matched incidences.. AFTER the fact. Created a time line to Show the Judges. Got those involved to Nail the boss's..The boss's squealed, to get everyone else so they could get out of prison sooner, and all the crew's were left in jail. Fun aint it?

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:42pm

      Re: BEFORE SMART PHONES

      But, The FBI, CIA, others... really dont understand how all this works.. But they want 1 step in doing other things. Get 1 chat/msg program and they REQUIRE all the others to do the same. What would be easier...is to setup the internet/cellphones/all phones not to be able to be Spoofed/faked out.. That all info and data had traceable link data, back to the phone/internet site/computer/person that wrote/said/spoke.. Which is mostly hard to do, after this OLD system was installed WITH BACKDOOR to hide communications in the first place.

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

  • identicon
    JD, 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:39pm

    Screen door

    Ah, so the screen door they want to install on the submarine is the front door, not the back door? How reassuring.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:41pm

    "lawless spaces"

    If you are interested in such places, I suggest one look at Wall Street, K street, Madison Ave, Congress, and Pennsylvania Ave.

    You should find lots of lawlessness going on in those places.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 12:45pm

    I mean really...what...what do you keep needing?

    You got a world class arsenal of military grade weaponry assigned to civilian officers these days.
    You got crime labs labs that recreate shots and wounds.
    You can find a 1000 year old dead guy with his tooth...

    But for some reason...you need this.

    Do your job you Lazy assholes...

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 1:37pm

    All this...

    From a group that cant Prove the Corps are hiding their money..
    Corps are Totally screwing the public..
    CorpsAre totally monopolistic..
    Cant get the corps to pay taxes..
    Built mega server systems to monitor things..
    Cant get Smart people to Work for them, without Firing them for BEING to smart..
    OH! did you hear about the translator Problem they have. They dont trust them.. Even when they use 2-3 to translate 1 thing and they all say the same...They dont trust them.(CIA has same problem)

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 1:54pm

    Dear FBI

    Just an idea... Make your OWN, great, fantastic, Stupendous Chat/txt/msg program.. That does everything, for everyone, and can be Merged with every program on the market.. Make it world wide access. But, dont tell anyone that its fully monitored, By YOU..And you share data with the other nations as to whats happening. Go ahead...try it..I dare you..

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

    • identicon
      Tin-Foil-Hat, 7 Oct 2019 @ 6:26pm

      Re: Dear FBI

      They invent their own terrorists. They create an elaborate terrorist plot. Then they recruit and entrap a mentally ill, paranoid schizophrenic by threatening to harm him and his family members if he doesn't comply.

      I'm sure they'll have an easier time once they have access to your devices. They can plant the evidence they need to create their own crime organizations with you (or a patsy of their choosing) at the helm.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re: Dear FBI

        See....
        Its a great idea..
        Direct monitoring, and jump in to pre-program the idiots.
        Its that, or we goto Church and listen to another idiot..

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 7 Oct 2019 @ 2:29pm

    As a real world example of how law enforcement access will be useless against actual criminals, I give you ... El Chapo. His encrypted phone network was not a corporate product. It was created by his own organization (which obviously put it beyond any sort of law enforcement access) and it was only broken because the engineer who built it rolled over. If you're going to break laws, breaking one more against using non-backdoored encryption will not slow anyone down. All you'll get is a new class of "criminals" who are otherwise ordinary people who want to have a truly private conversation.

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

    • identicon
      A Guy, 7 Oct 2019 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      I would bet my life savings that the el chapo example is a case of parallel construction where they got in, then found the designer of the encryption after inside, and finally claimed to have only got in by flipping the engineer so they don't have to reveal their original exploit.

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

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 7 Oct 2019 @ 3:23pm

    WRT “back doors” v. “front doors”, not only is that arguing semantics, it confuses what is meant by a “back door”, which is simply any access outside of the sender and intended receiver, or without the end user’s knowledge or prior consent. You can still get legitimate, legal access through a manner that is intended by the programmers through the back door, even if everyone knows the back door exists.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 7 Oct 2019 @ 5:47pm

    FBI Director Wrong Wray on Encryption

    Wray says everyone else -- everyone who doesn't immediately agree the security trade-off the FBI is pitching is worth it -- is wrong. We're allying ourselves with the most heinous criminals and actively thwarting law enforcement. We're all Wray's straw men now.

    Let FBI Director Wrong Wray lead by example.

    Wrong Wray and his pals can use the allying ourselves with the most heinous criminals and actively thwarting law enforcement trope for every occasion.

    https://stanford.edu/~jmayer/law696/week8/Going%20Dark%20or%20Golden%20Age.pdf

    How does the director of the nations so-called premier law enforcement agency FBI make such a bogus uninformed misleading statement?

    Because he cares not one iota about the public (he thinks we're ignorant) and only seeks more power for himself, FBI and the US government (and its client states).

    In the golden age of surveillance governments worldwide (especially 5 eyes members) have untold amounts of data at their finger tips.

    Anyone remember Edward Snowden and XKEYSCORE?

    https://theintercept.com/2015/07/01/nsas-google-worlds-private-communications/

    Surveillance in the US is so prevalent that the government continually circumvents the Constitution daily with the use of NSA/CIA/FBI/DEA surveillance intercepts to create what are known as parallel investigations where the criminals in government illegally surveil a person(s) then surreptitiously pass the information to local law enforcement to create a bogus investigation in order to conceal from the people and courts the vile origins of said investigation.

    Nice government.

    https://theintercept.com/2018/01/09/dark-side-fbi-dea-illegal-searches-secret-evidence/

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

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 7 Oct 2019 @ 5:59pm

    Protect Us?

    When they aren't trying to manipulate us into giving up more of our rights there is no "we". There is no "us". We are "them". When we dare to request, or excercise our rights we are the enemy. We are the terrorists. We are the criminals by simply existing. They have made this clear so many times.

    Now we have William Barr. The most honest Attorney General ever. He doesn't hide the fact that the law only applies to the little people and that rights exist to protect the privileged like him and Trump. It usually extends to the many police state agencies when they don't step out of line. The privileged class and those protecting them usually pretend the law is enforced fairly and equitably but not William Barr. He has no shame. He doesn't care if the whole world knows the truth.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 5:50am

      Re: Protect Us?

      He's on his way down, TFH, having been caught up in the Ukraine scandal. //Munches popcorn//

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 8:42am

        Re: Re: Protect Us?

        He and Trump seem pretty simpatico. It's possible that could change -- Trump could throw Barr under the bus and fire him, or Barr could get sick of Trump's erratic behavior and quit -- but for now, at least, they seem to be on the same page.

        I support the impeachment investigation, and I support impeachment. But unless something major changes, even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate will not convict. Conviction requires a 2/3 majority, which means every Democrat and at least 20 Republicans would have to vote to convict. That seems very unlikely at this point; so far, Republicans have strongly sent the signal that they'll defend Trump no matter what he does.

        Facts could change in the coming months, depending on what comes out in the investigations. A number of polls already show a majority supporting the impeachment inquiry and a plurality supporting impeachment; that's huge compared to Watergate, where only about 20% of the public supported the impeachment investigation when it first started. It could be that we've already crossed a tipping point and support for impeachment will only increase from here.

        But there are differences between Watergate and today. One is that the president has his own propaganda network to defend him, and a large contingent of his supporters only get their news from that network. Another is that there is not one single Senate Republican who has the personal integrity of Barry Goldwater.

        The only way 20 Republicans turn against Trump is that public opinion turns so hard against him that they fear there's a greater risk they'll lose reelection if they protect him than if they convict him. Given everything they've defended him on so far, and how steady his approval rating has been, that's going to require a major sea change -- something coming out in the investigation that's more damning than anything we've heard to date, or, perhaps more likely, an economic crisis.

        In any event, I think it's much likelier that Trump -- and Barr -- will be removed from office by losing the 2020 election than by being impeached and convicted in the Senate. That's not to say it won't be the Ukraine investigation that brings them down, just that it's likelier to bring them down at the ballot box than in the Senate.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 7:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

          We're at the point where a Republican-led probe found that Russia did, in fact, help Trump during the 2016 elections. Nothing else will come of it in the party, of course. Trump could shoot a baby with a handgun, claiming he is threatened by the idea of babies, and the White House would eagerly start teaching their infants how to fellate firearms.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 10:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

            I never doubted Russians meddled in the election and possibly in a favor of Trump. I highly doubt Trump knew a thing about it until he was in office though.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 1:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

              Well, apart from the fact that he openly asked them to do something during the debates and there were already suspicions of his involvement with them to the point that Clinton called him out as a Russian puppet during the debates, of course.

              If he didn't know directly, he was clearly being used masterfully by them. I'm not sure which one reflect on the country worse.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 5:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

                Yeah, stupid public requests are a grey area of election law. It can be considered a donation in kind to the campaign in which case it is illegal but it could also be free speech in which case either it doesn't count as a donation in kind or the law is unconstitutional.

                Clinton was in the Obama administration and would be more likely to know that the Russians were meddling than the other candidates. She would have had contacts and advantages no one else would.

                I doubt Trump is being used. He seems to have a really opportunistic personality and if he doesn't see personal advantage he usually doesn't do stuff.

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 6:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

                  "Yeah, stupid public requests are a grey area of election law"

                  That has nothing to do with whether or not they indicate that he knew what was going on.

                  "Clinton was in the Obama administration and would be more likely to know that the Russians were meddling than the other candidates."

                  Knowing and being able to present an airtight legal case proving it in the middle of an election campaign is something else. it's quite possible that she knew, but apart from calling him out on it during the debate and hoping he'd incriminate himself, there might not have been much she could actually do.

                  "She would have had contacts and advantages no one else would."

                  She did... then after she won the popular vote by over 3 million votes, someone else overrode those advantages with the electoral college.

                  "I doubt Trump is being used. He seems to have a really opportunistic personality and if he doesn't see personal advantage he usually doesn't do stuff."

                  Exactly. So, all someone needs to do is convince him that doing things to aid Russian interests is good for him. Being used just means he's not the mastermind, and he really doesn't seem to be a hard person to manipulate if you have the right combination of money, ego massage and buzzwords.

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

        • icon
          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 9 Oct 2019 @ 3:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

          True, dat. However, the point of continuing the impeachment process is to demonstrate the utter lawlessness of the Republican party when they refuse to convict. They're doing a great job of that now. There is no bottom.

          Flake and Romney, among others, are expressing dismay, and The Bulwark has recommended Romney for president on the basis of that. I won't be able to take him seriously till I hear him utter the "I" word. Prediction: he'll flip-flop. Again.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 5:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

            The President's gambit seems to be "this was legitimate treaty enforcement within my Constitutional authority as head of the executive/law enforcement".

            It's exactly what I thought he would do and has a good chance of holding up if it was in a court. However his impeachment proceeding by Congress isn't constrained by courts so it doesn't matter if he was exactly legally in the right. It only matters if he is popular enough in Congress.

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

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Protect Us?

            Yeah, Flake and Romney (and Collins and the late John McCain) have been great at expressing concern but not actually doing anything.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2019 @ 6:33pm

    How do you propose to ensure that the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, sworn to protect you and your families, actually maintain lawful access to the information they need to do their jobs?

    This is the same excuse used to justify torture by law enforcement. I mean, what if "the information they need to do their job" is in someone's head? Simple. You just torture it out of them. Hey, it's for "law enforcement", so it must be good, right? Especially if it's "for the children". And anyone who objects is probably a pervy child molester!

    Yeah, I see how that all works.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 5:51am

      Re:

      How do you propose to ensure that the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, sworn to protect you and your families, actually maintain lawful access to the information they need to do their jobs?

      By getting a damn warrant PRIOR to attempting to access the information. LEOs are not above the law.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 2:51am

    "We need access to every bit of conversation that flows thru here and you will give it to us. You know what, how about you just let us work out of here."

    -The Day the Stasi was created-

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

  • identicon
    Mr. Sardonic, 8 Oct 2019 @ 3:56am

    The Government, Law Enforcement and Spooks (GCHQ, NSA, etc.) want backdoors in encryption 'cause child molesters and terrorism. eye roll

    Anyone with a brain knows that everybody will be able to use the backdoor.

    So why don't they just make it illegal to use the backdoor if they're not a member of the aformentioned?

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

    • identicon
      A Guy, 8 Oct 2019 @ 4:13am

      Re:

      There are 2 points:

      1: Criminals will use the backdoor just because it's there just like if the government mandated everyone leaves the backdoor to their house unlocked. There's a law but that's clearly not sufficient.

      2:Just because some may want to allow their government to have a backdoor that doesn't mean they want every government to have access to that backdoor and they would. For example, in the US homosexuality isn't a crime but in other countries they execute you for it. Or for not following orders from 'dear leader' as another example. Not all governments deserve to have access but governments will generally have the resources to get in it anyway.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2019 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re:

        Grant one government a backdoor, and you have to grant all of them a back door, which means that that criminals in some countries will also gain access to that backdoor.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 8 Oct 2019 @ 7:16am

    A musical refrain: "If they only had a brain..."

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

  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 8 Oct 2019 @ 7:31am

    Need for grammatic logic

    those out there who are resisting the need for lawful access...

    The Need For Lawful Access is created by crime.

    Crime rates are down. FBI's shrill aggression is up.

    Okay. The FBI hates whatever results in less need for lawful access.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2019 @ 12:11am

    "It's a legitimate concern..."

    No. It isn't. Unless they are used to having copies of every conversation ever.

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

  • icon
    cattress (profile), 10 Oct 2019 @ 2:43am

    "How do you expect....protect you and your family" blah blah blah. I don't expect you to protect us, as you have made abundantly clear that you are under no obligation to protect us.
    "How do you explain to a victim..." How about you demonstrate that you give one iota of shit about victims and ensure that no police department gets away with shoving rape kits the closet to collect dust and run out the statute of limitations.
    And that nonsense about letting your children mingle with strange adults who might groom them... For just a second, let's be real. Who are the people who, statistically, are the most likely to hurt and victimize children? Not strangers! Aside from parents, it's the familiar adults that parents know and trust, like church leaders, coaches, counselors, other family members, friends, scout leaders, teachers and even doctors. I'm not saying that strangers don't find ways to groom children, but statistically, it's the people that kids are supposed to trust and respect and obey.
    Law enforcement needs to get a legislative overhaul that gives it priorities. Decriminalize drugs, prostitution and whatever else consenting adults want to do that doesn't harm anyone else. Legalize all immigration, except anyone with a credible history of violence, so that no one is forced to work under the table-. And I know most people disagree with this but, decriminalize possession of child porn, and refocus efforts to crushing it's production. Production is where children are harmed, and without prohibition of possession, the value of production drops. When law enforcement's goals become bringing justice to victims, including victims of law enforcement, and they dump all the junk science bullshit, we could have this nonsense conversation about encryption again.

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

  • icon
    McKay (profile), 11 Oct 2019 @ 9:17pm

    Mandating backdoors will make things worse

    "How do you ... actually maintain lawful access to the information ... need[ed]?"

    Can't be done. Not possible.

    Any developer worth their salt, can make an "unbreakable" communication app in a few hours. If the government makes big players make backdoors (er, bedroom windows?), then the bad guys will start using apps that are less common, and less familiar to law enforcement, which will make law enforcement's job even harder.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Oct 2019 @ 10:19am

      Re: Mandating backdoors will make things worse

      Indeed. The whole thing is ultimately predicated on the idea that criminals either cannot or will not roll their own solution and will stick to a handful of apps from major corporations. Which might be true for some low hanging fruit, but not the kind of organisations people are supposedly being asked to forfeit rights to fight against

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


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