Re: Re: It's the second step that's the problem...
This is perhaps the most nefarious thing. If backdoors are built into the crypto used by phones and such, then privacy-minded people and criminals will simply use their own crypto (many, if not most, already do). The feds gain nothing in terms of their stated goals, but gain a lot of ability to spy on the innocent and naive.
The next step would be to outlaw encryption by anybody unless it has a backdoor. At that point, we're fighting the original crypto wars all over again. The bright side is that we won that one.
"I'm guessing there's something similar for some combination based locks"
Yes, there are combination locks that accept multiple combinations.
"My fear is that once law enforcement is able to enforce some sort of 'master' key on encryption, something similar for physical locks will follow shortly after."
I'm not "comfortable" with either kind of back door, so forgive my wording here but I'm sure you understand: I would actually be much more comfortable with a government-held master key on all physical locks than I would be with the same thing when it comes to crypto.
"The check of 'sexual' in nature though is a check on the actual content itself and thus is a more doable proposition."
But that check requires a judgement call on the part of the one doing the censoring. Google says that they'll allow tasteful or artistic nudes, or nudity that serves a public purpose. There is no objective way to make those determinations.
So “backdoor” is not the context I would use. When I hear the phrase “backdoor,” I think, “well, this is kind of shady. Why would you want to go in the backdoor?
This shines a very bright light on two things for me. First, it explains that weird statement a while back that the government doesn't want a back door, it wants a golden key to the front door. This reply makes it clear that "back door" doesn't play well in the focus groups, which is why they want everyone to stop using a well-defined, well-established term of the art no matter how correct it is. Here's a free hint, MR: "back door" is not actually a pejorative.
Second, this comment makes it clear that either the director of the NSA is unfamiliar with the jargon of a field that is perhaps the very core of his agency, or he's willing to look like he doesn't know what he's talking about in an effort to fool the American people.
I was speaking to the issue of reverse-engineering binaries specifically. I never claimed that it was a trivial thing to do. But it doesn't have to be expensive! Off the top of my head, I know four qualified engineers who would enjoy doing that work as a fun side-project for little or no charge (for the right organization, anyway).
"Many of us might face this very issue throughout our lives. Like, "How do I get the pictures off my no-longer-working no-name Taiwanese digital camera I bought over 20 years ago?""
I've encountered the same issue both personally and professionally for almost my entire career, with media written by equipment far older than that!
Yes, I know. And when it was tried with telecoms, it failed miserably. That' not to say that it can't work in the future -- but first, we need to find a way to stop the corruption and collusion between the major telecoms and lawmakers.
"Having this happen once is just a bug. I could totally believe that."
Me too, but (taking their "this is just a bug" statement at face value) that such an obvious and easy-to-spot bug made it past their quality control systems indicates a catastrophic failure by the company. One that they can't just wave off as "only a bug". This is a systemic failure that should be causing everyone at the company to be running around like their hair was on fire.
Unless, of course, it was intentional.
(they do internal code reviews and appropriate testing prior to release, right? Right? Apparently not.)