1994-04-28 - Re: spooks on cypherpunks

Header Data

From: “Perry E. Metzger” <perry@snark.imsi.com>
To: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Message Hash: 8f83d024fcd641c391ec1a62265df4e717d05db20f07d0a059761e8a037c4b06
Message ID: <9404281732.AA14898@snark.imsi.com>
Reply To: <m0pwWx6-000IDpC@crynwr>
UTC Datetime: 1994-04-28 17:32:41 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 28 Apr 94 10:32:41 PDT

Raw message

From: "Perry E. Metzger" <perry@snark.imsi.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 94 10:32:41 PDT
To: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Subject: Re: spooks on cypherpunks
In-Reply-To: <m0pwWx6-000IDpC@crynwr>
Message-ID: <9404281732.AA14898@snark.imsi.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Russell Nelson says:
> Sorry, but this is no help.  It's impossible to distinguish Agents
> Provocateur from merely incompetent people.  You need to deal with the
> latter, and so the former fall out in the wash.
> If the cypherpunk movement is to be an effective non-violent force, it
> must realize that secrecy is no help.  The best designed action will
> work even if your enemy helps you plan it and carry it out.  Karn's CJR
> is an example of this.

Frankly, I agree.

The NSA and the rest are roughly in the position of the Eastern block
dictatorships a few years ago. There is basically nothing they can do
to maintain their position. They have no mechanism available. With the
arrival of good cryptographic techniques in the open literature they
were basically given a death sentence. Anyone with a computer and some
brains can now do lots of stuff they don't like, and there isn't
anything they can do about it no matter how much they would like.

They will search desperately for some miracle to save them, but there
isn't going to be one. Even were they to succeed in getting lots of
laws in place, there would be no way to enforce them where it counts
the most -- the criminals will not obey, and the technology is easy
for them to get.

We need no secrecy. We need only keep doing what we are doing: looking
for more and more ways to attack them in the legal system, pointing
out how silly they look in the press, and writing more code. There is
virtually nothing they can do no matter how much they like. 

The NSA will either adapt or die -- it seems to be trying to die right
now rather than adapt, but thats not our problem.

Frankly, I'm happier if they are watching. It tells us that we are
worth looking at.