Just Because I'm (Still) Paranoid...


I wrote the original version of this page (or last updated it, anyhow) way back in the early 90's. You can read that archived rant here. The ever-accelerating rate of technological change means that as I update this in 2015 2017, most of the things we were worried about twenty-plus years ago seem more than a bit silly now - the US government intentionally weakening crypto standards, pushing to ban private use of strong crypto, campaigning to require use of broken-by-design crypto hardware for which they hold the keys...

Aw, *fuck*.

As it turns out, none of us were paranoid *enough*. Really, the only thing that seems to have changed since the 90's is that US law enforcement and government agencies just don't bother with the pretense of making sure their peeping plans are Constitutional before generating an ominous codenames list and proceeding to do whatever the hell they want (for our own good, naturally). Oh, the NSA still does its best to bully/bluff/scare Congress into singing along, but that has very little bearing on what they're actually *doing*. We only get that kind of information when a brave individual like Edward Snowden makes the hard choice to stand up and tell us, despite the extraordinarily severe negative consequences to his own liberty and freedom.

The other thing that hasn't changed? Most people neither understand any of this, nor see any reason why they should care about it. Fortunately, John Oliver's "This Week Tonight" show seems to have found the solution - skip to about 23:44 for that if you must, though I'd *strongly* recommend watching the whole episode.

(Sigh). Sadly, with only a few substitutions, this closing paragraph works just as well in 2015 2017 as it did in 1993. And as a 2017 bonus, Donald Trump will be is in control of all that government snooping infrastructure, which certainly gives *me* the warm fucking fuzzies.

If you *still* don't know why any of this should matter to you, what Echelon PRISM, Carnivore XKeyscore, Clipper Section 215, or Pretty Good Privacy TOR are, who Phil Zimmermann Edward Snowden is, or what kind of things the US government wants to do is doing in order to ensure that their ability to routinely and conveniently snoop into your business (whatever it is) continues well into the 21st 22nd century, please follow the links below (or read Stephen Levy's Crypto for a quick modern history) and start finding out. Routinely using strong encryption for your normal daily communications isn't any more paranoid than locking your front door or sending your mail in envelopes. Once you're up to speed, *my* PGP public key and miniLock ID can be found here. Send me yours (but despite how heroically patriotic they may be, no dick pics, please).

"You shouldn't change your behavior because a government
 agency somewhere is doing the wrong thing. If we sacrifice
 our values because we're afraid, we don't care about those
 values very much."
"That is a pretty inspiring answer to the question, 'Hey, why
 did you just send me a picture of your dick? Because I love
 America, that's why.'"

			- Edward Snowden and John Oliver

"The NSA Tried This Before - What the 90s Debate Over The Clipper Chip Can Teach Us About Digital Privacy"

"iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars"

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