Internet surveillance Privacy

The ongoing fight against encryption

Once again there are calls to regulate the Internet and ongoing discussions on forcing providers to install back doors in encryption products, especially those offering end-to-end encryption. Once more mention is made of these evil dark spaces in the Internet. But I wonder if they have stopped to think in real-world terms? I mean, we can have these same ‘dark spaces’ formed simply by people meeting behind closed doors. Perhaps the next step is to be able to monitor speech regardless of the communications path? These dark spaces (rooms with curtains and closed doors for example) are no different really to those created by the Internet, except of course people meet face to face. Now, if the argument is that where people physically meet then can be surveilled, it fails to address the fact that the same targeted surveillance can be applied to the Internet. If you are surveilling someone anyway then why are you not already tapping their communications and why have you not installed a key logger to bypass any attempts at encryption?

As to defeating encryption it is surely too late. It is also surely pointless. Governments may well force providers to install back doors and once known anyone that still wants to remain private will move elsewhere, perhaps to use Tor nodes in jurisdictions that refuse to comply to these backdoor requirements, or perhaps to use their own software to provide end-to-end encryption. Or even to use the good old one time pad.

I wonder what the logical progression is here. I can imaging the thought that if they can coerce providers to install backdoors into all encryption products, then what cannot subsequently be decrypted bust be some nefarious hacker or terrorist and can therefore be blocked. But even so, you cannot get past the fact that pre-arranged wordings can be transmitted in clear text and you will only find the meaning by other methods of surveillance, like acquiring codebooks. Nad we’re back to the fact that if you can do that then surely you can install a key logger anyway!