1998-08-12 - RE: Internet is rickety

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From: mgraffam@mhv.net
To: “Brown, R Ken” <brownrk1@texaco.com>
Message Hash: 089e57b0247a987e137e9dfcd1b6a284b2d820459d3b66573684cdbfc47b2206
Message ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980812063302.16111A-100000@albert>
Reply To: <896c7c3540c3d111ab9f00805fa78ce2013f833e@texaco.com>
UTC Datetime: 1998-08-12 11:10:28 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 04:10:28 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: mgraffam@mhv.net
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 04:10:28 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Brown, R Ken" <brownrk1@texaco.com>
Subject: RE: Internet is rickety
In-Reply-To: <896c7c3540c3d111ab9f00805fa78ce2013f833e@texaco.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980812063302.16111A-100000@albert>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On Wed, 12 Aug 1998, Brown, R Ken wrote:

> I think you have missed the point.  It's not that they are
> reading messages sent by foreign governments. They 
> are reading - at least potentially - all the messages
> sent by their own citizens.

Well.. like I said before, I would not doubt much that is attributed to
government agencies along these lines. I do not trust NSA to give me
privacy: not only is it not their job, one can be more or less assured
that such groups with the power to eavesdrop, will, even if it is a few
rogue individuals. 

This is why I create my own privacy; and if they can get past the crypto
that I use, then my hat goes off to them.

> Some US citizens (I am not one) seem to have a touching
> faith in the idea that the CIA and NSA will not spy on 
> US citizens because it isn't in the powers given to them.   

There is no love lost between my government and I, especially the likes
of certain groups, like CIA. 

I suspect that the spooks do more than sit on a wire and listen too.

But this has nothing to do with the fact that US citizens can _use_
whatever type of crypto we damn well feel like. NSA might not give us
the goods on what sort of crypto _they_ use, but hell, this is to be
expected! No sweet military technology is given up for public consumption
until it is more or less useless. why should we expect crypto to be any

> > I suspect I would
> > try very hard to limit the amount of strong crypto that these
> > governments have.
> But they haven't managed to do that. And it isn't
> really what they want to do. They want to limit the 
> strong crypto available to *you* because they want to read 
> *your* mail.

This is paranoia, plain and simple. If this were true, I'd expect to
see some evidence. If they didn't want U.S. citizens to have decent
crypto, why be involved with DES at all? Why release Skipjack? Why
not lobby Congress (like they do so well) and kill AES? If they don't
want us to have decent crypto, why does the U.S. government give us
so much of it?! 

As far as I can tell you will either have to claim that the crypto they
give us is shit, which there is no evidence for, or you need to come up
with a way that giving us strong crypto lets them read our mail (in
the long-term maybe?). Either way, it is a good-ole fashion
self-reinforcing conspiracy theory. No thanks.

I'd be the first to admit that there are a bunch of bad apples in the
government.. sure.. but I can't see how we can reasonably claim some
far-reaching conspiracy to turn the U.S. into a police state.

> > Their job is to read the Other Guy's messages, 
> > and to make sure the Other Guy can't read Uncle Sam's
> > messages. We speculate that they do both reasonably well.
> And *you* *are* the Other Guy.
> Wake up and smell the static.

This may very well be. Why do you think I have PGP installed? 
I'm not saying NSA is our friend, for Christ's sake.. there are
plenty of things about NSA policy that I dislike. There are probably
a whole shit-load of things that I don't know about that I would hate.

But none of this makes NSA look any different in my eyes than any other
group of bastards who have been given a bit of authority and have been
around for more than 10 minutes. So what else is new?

I'm merely saying that Forte Meade doesn't have a Room 101 is all .. 
NSA isn't the last bastion of evil, guys, they are a real pain in the
ass, sure... but if you ask my third-grade teacher, she would probably 
say the same thing about me.

I'd love to see NSA get disbanded, and while I'm at it, I figure it might
be nice to disband the whole damn Union too. But not only is that not
realistic, it is probably pretty damn dangerous given the boat load of
freaks and psychos we have running around in this country.

..now, if you'll excuse me, I have a boat to catch..

Michael J. Graffam (mgraffam@mhv.net)
http://www.mhv.net/~mgraffam -- Philosophy, Religion, Computers, Crypto, etc
"Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine."
			Henry David Thoreau "Civil Disobedience"