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Re: "Industry Group Rebuffs U.S. on Encryption"

At 05:37 PM 11/9/95 +0100, someone who understandably prefers to be
Anonymous wrote:

>In only a few decades, crypto's gone from being unheard of to the object
>of an increasingly high-profile PR war over "domestic and international
>terrorists and criminals." The govt's position, however, hasn't changed
>substantially: it doesn't like crypto, and it never will.

It has changed substantially.  Once "born classified" and subject to prison
sentences during WWII, possession and use of crypto is now "legal as church
on a Sunday."  The government's position as late as 1978 (later in the case
of Admiral Bobby) was that open publication of cryptographic research was
good for a free trip to Leavenworth to make little ones out of big ones.
[The fact that they threatened a lot more than they actually prosecuted
doesn't mean that this wasn't their position.]  Things have changed.

>There will never
>be a time when the cops who pull you over or drop by for a visit will say,
>"Ma'am, if you've encrypted that, we respect the fact that you don't want
>anyone to see that--so we'll just be going bow. You have a nice day, now,
>y'hear." And there will never be no cops.

It is easy to imagine such a thing since that is exactly what cops do now
when they encounter people committing acts which used to be felonies.  They
ignore them.  It is quite possible for social arrangements to change in such
a way that the sovereign is no longer held to be able to compel testimony or
the surrender of information.  Certainly, technological changes can make
cases where the cops are aware that you provably possess information rare.

There were no nation states or cops prior to 1600.  It is perfectly possible
that there will be no nation states or cops at some point in the future.
Since policing is a labor intensive occupation and as currently organized
suffers from socialist inefficiency, it may well be disintermediated.  Thus,
cryptographic protocols can (if desired) practically exclude the possibility
of theft (of digital goods).  And if the bulk of the world's economy
consists of digital goods/services (measured by value not volume or weight
obviously <g>) then computers and crypto may be enough.  
Nanotechnology may make self defense more efficient than "others" defense
and may make it so easy to defend against state power that it brings on the
collapse of the nation state.  Technological changes bring social changes.  

Full nanotechnology may not even be necessary.  A computer is a nanomachine.
The capabilities of these toys and the networks they run on may be enough in
and of themselves to weaken monopoly institutions of coercion beyond their
tipping points.


"Jan, you remember what happened 10 years ago today, don't you?  The world
ended.  As we know it don't you mean?"  -- Too much Firesign Theater, not
enough Calculus.