Regardless, using the argument of child pornography and sex trafficking is an emotional play, and it is solely designed to resonate with those who also do not understand the technology.
If this same argument took another form, e.g. if this were an attempt ban walls made out of non-transparent material because opaque walls allow child abuse to occur hidden from sight, the obvious violation of privacy would be evident to the average person.
What inevitably happens with laws that create such a drastic power imbalance between your average citizen and the governing entity is that those with power and status are exempt.
It is and it's used everytime something like this comes up actually. But if you take it for what it is; most of the lawmakers don't fully undersand what their deciding on, so they depend on lobbyists for their info and unfortunately, they're always just interested in making money, so the lawmakers get a skewed view and some nice talking points. I'm not sure if I feel bad for them or just be confident that the next generation of life long politicians might be people like us who are aware of this problem and enact laws to protect privacy.
The old pendulum that swings example.
Do you want a pay cut? I don't want a pay cut. Unless we take a pay cut and go become a elected, it won't be people like us who are the next generation of life long politicians.
Edit: also some parts of the world, like the US and UK, have district-based voting systems that favour large parties. You can't actually get anywhere in politics without the backing of such a party, and it would be difficult to convince the party to make you a candidate when you aren't playing the same political games.
The big time early years have massive rewards. One in a handful go on to be the team coach / manager. A few more graduate to coaching support staff at a much lower salary. A very lucky few land a job for life at ESPN or BBC Sport. Some don’t need the money. Some do.
The majority move on though and retrain as gym coaches, teachers, parents, therapists, firefighters. They take a pay cut and a role with much lower global impact and a much higher local impact. Often because the latter is genuinely very rewarding.
It’s something to look forward to as you get older but a drop in salary is going to be a fact of life unless you have exceptional transferable skills that put you at the top of the game in your chosen second career, be that in the private or public sector.
I can't imagine how this would ever become the norm, unless your early career is in crazy SV startup world or some similar environment, where VC funding leads to hugely inflated salaries but ageism is rampant. And if you do go into that environment but you haven't then earned enough to retire and/or learned enough to start your own business by the time the gravy train runs out, you're probably doing something wrong.
That might be their official salary (I'm assuming?) but unless senior politicians in the US are different to almost everywhere else, that will likely only represent a proportion of their total income as a result of their political career. Between the perks that come with the job while it's happening and the consultancies and board positions and speaking engagements that come afterwards or even during, a politician who reaches that kind of level is probably going to make far more money from it than just their salary.
...and except for media celebs are usually not in the public limelight. Being in the public limelight frequently stinks.
There are few professions where those in the upper levels can command the kind of auxiliary income that a high profile former politician can. Even in fields like tech, it's not usually the case except for in the US.
If you want the top 500 people at benefiting you, and only people like you, and making sure that society as a whole doesn't benefit, even by preserving the planet for them ... yeah, sure, pay oodles.
"anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
You are a better person than I.
ALL the governing entities, or any entity with bad intentions, because whatever magical backdoor or whatever are available will surely leak and in that case everyone is at the mercy not just their own government (let's say they're responsible folks) but other government groups who do not care what happens to anyone outside their borders....
Not that the situations are perfect parallels, but I think it's worth reflecting on since this ultimately seems like consternation born from hubris. Everyone is vulnerable to emotional appeals in the same way that everyone is vulnerable to appeals to logic and authority. Highlighting the rhetorical nature of a specific appeal without making a counter appeal doesn't do anything productive to shift the dialogue.
It's the same reason that the 'nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide' crowd haven't lost much ground in the mainstream despite years of the digital privacy movement trying different tactics. Most people in the mainstream, even if they accept the expanded definitions of privacy unique to the digital landscape, don't feel like they've suffered in a significant enough way to be worth resisting the emotional appeal of helping the 1% of victims who the current system fails.
or because they are tools made to kill?
Let's be honest this is not a good comparison (to stay polite). Not having guns at worst would force a group of people to find a new and less dangerous hobby, while not having encryption pretty much puts people's lives at risk in many countries and make having a democracy much more difficult.
That may seem like pedantry, but a huge number of guns aren't design to be used in anger, fired at a living thing, or will ever be purchased for the intent of firing at a living thing. I own a shotgun exclusively for shooting at clay targets for example, and I have no intention of ever pointing it at a living thing. Firearms used for sport are frequently explicitly designed for use in sport rather than being designed for combat, self defense, or hunting.
What if you become suicidal? Your current intentions will be subverted by your own emotional state.
Bringing paedophiles into the conversation in the first place was misdirection. And I resent your attempt to use my correction of an implication you introduced in doing so to support your argument.
Becoming suicidal is something that happens to a lot of people. Spontaneously gaining a shitty paraphilia is not. Spontaneously gaining a paraphilia and losing your morals is a completely fictional situation constructed purely to dodge a valid point; that's disingenuous arguing.
I can well believe that people going through a depressive episode, who are contemplating suicide, are more likely to commit suicide if they have easy access to a gun, above and beyond other potential weapons such as knives, blunt objects, water and high places. Guns take minimal planning, and don't involve overriding nearly as many instincts.
If you want to be right, instead of just winning an argument, focus on the weakest parts of your argument and the strongest parts of your opponents' arguments. You dodged from suicides to "shoot[ing] people" via a deft "think of the children", which is not arguing in good faith. You want to think yourself already right; you don't want to become right if you're not already.
Personally, I'd rather err on the side of freedom than safety. There are alternatives available to us that don't infringe on freedoms so much, such as universal health care and increased treatment options for mental illness, which I think would be very much preferable. I think this argument extends to encryption such that encryption can be used for nefarious ends, just as guns can be used for nefarious ends. There are definitely parallels. How much freedom do we want to trade, how far do we want to take this thing?
If you want perfect safety from suicidal tendencies, consider going under a 24/7 watch and having your hands tied. For some extremely severe cases, this may be warranted.
But there's no reason to subject the rest of the population to the same measures.
A gun is designed to kill. Anything else you do with it is just practice to kill more effectively with it.
Every Man Has The Right to Utility Dynamite!
At that point, there is little difference between between a military officer having access or a citizen having access.
So it's really not about weapons in and of themselves that the rest of the world is puzzled about this American debate, not about the supposed cruelty of everyday people (nobody believes that). It's really about the fact that carrying a gun to work is a very slippery slope, even if the gun is in the car. Same idea with not carrying dangerous explosives if you can help it, the risk is too high compared to most perceived benefits.
I think the self defense argument is very much biased by the fact that once others have guns, you may feel threatened not carrying yourself; conversely if no one carries you'd rather it stayed that way... It's a snake eating its own tail from both sides.
The truth is, it's actually not normal people carrying that kills a lot in the US (although child accidents are statistically too high compared to eg Europe or Asia iirc). It's really the problem of gangs etc. Most lethal shootings are statistically related to someone's lifelong "job", not everyday honest people. But removing guns from wide circulation means we don't have e.g. teens shooting others anywhere else in the world, nowhere near the same magnitude, which is a troubling fact. Indeed, it's the person that holds the gun that counts, and young minds shouldn't have access to guns in that regard. Not enough control yet, it's a biological fact.
: France, but it's the same culture in most western EU countries afaik. Not sure about those closest to the Russian federation but I'm inclined to think they generally agree with us on the matter.
: Hunting is certainly midly popular here in rural areas, and those who voice criticism are 99% about the animal cruelty angle, they couldn't care less if the killing was done with knifes or arrows instead. The gun angle is just not a thing in most countries where guns are effectively banned from regular society but obviously totally accessible for sports: it's OK, really.
Guns are not a prerequisite for feeling threatened. The self-defense argument is based on the fact that two arbitrary people armed with guns are much more likely to be evenly matched than two disarmed individuals. In particular, habitually violent individuals tend to be much more experienced at, and prepared for, unarmed combat than the general public. Skill with firearms also benefits from practice, of course, but almost any armed individual would at least stand a chance of winning against a determined attacker, whereas someone without extensive martial arts experience would be unlikely to successfully defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat. Guns represent an equalizing force.
Additionally sport shotguns typically have long barrels (I believe because pushing the sight farther away from the shooter's eye has been shown to improve accuracy among other things), are heavy because weight is less of a concern, and typically lack accessory mounting points (eg for ammunition holders, flash lights, other shit) because they are unnecessary and throw off the balance of the gun which may reduce accuracy. Competition guns are also frequently configured to fire a different type of ammunition which produces less recoil for the user and puts less strain on the shoulder over long bouts of practice. This ammo may do less damage to what it hits, so it would be less appropriate if you are trying to kill a person or a large game animal.
If you are asking "what's the difference between any gun optimized for sport vs one optimized for killing things?" then what you're effectively asking is "what's the difference between a computer optimized for hitting an overclocking record vs a server optimized for running your mission critical thing in production?" Nuanced rifle differences are out of my wheel house as I don't shoot rifles much, but the biggest difference from a design philosophy perspective is the performance:reliability trade off. If your rifle fails in a competition setting, that sucks but you're not going to die. If your rifle fails in combat while someone is shooting at you, you have real problems. Like servers, rifles designed for military or self defense use are therefore designed to operate correctly under a much wider range of conditions because they can't fail, and they sacrifice accuracy to meet that requirement. The most obvious example would be the AK-47 which is notoriously reliable to the point where it's a meme due to its simple mechanism and loose tolerances, and not nearly as accurate in standard configuration as many other rifles, even other rifles used by armed forces.
The other obvious difference is fire modes in a military setting (this is obviously context dependent). There is no need for burst fire (one trigger pull firing multiple bullets) or full auto fire (holding down the trigger yields continuous fire) in a competition setting because those fire modes are mostly used for scaring your enemy and getting them to stop shooting at you. You're not interested as much in hitting them, just suppressing them. You don't need to suppress a paper target because a paper target isn't shooting back at you.
If I look at your question literally, it's a hard question to answer because anything can be used to kill someone. What's the difference between a tank and a truck that a terrorist uses to run over people?
And you can do the same thing for anything. I could easily contend that "less dangerous hobby" is factually incorrect because there are plenty of more dangerous hobbies not being prohibited, like drag racing or skydiving. And we had the whole discussion in the other thread about "tools made to kill."
People assault for sport too. And people would make all kinds of illegal things for craftsmanship if they could.
Store of value seems particularly like a stretch.
They are tools for killing. To what extent is it correct to regulate them is the question.
If you want some economic evidence of purpose other than killing, notice that the vast majority of firearms are never actually used to kill anyone, nor do their owners desire to kill anyone with them. Then explain how their owners nonetheless derived enough value from them to justify paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for them.
> People assault for sport too.
Assault is already, independently illegal.
A law against killing people with guns is redundant (killing people is already illegal), but a law against not killing people with guns is incoherent, so what evil is left to prohibit that isn't already illegal?
> And people would make all kinds of illegal things for craftsmanship if they could.
But they can, that's sort of the point. Since individuals can manufacture them on their own regardless, isn't it better that they be available to the people who follow the law and not just the people who don't?
> Store of value seems particularly like a stretch.
There seem to be a fair number of second hand firearms dealers who make their living from it.
It's perfectly cogent to own a gun, not with any intent to kill, but to establish a power dynamic, such that one could respond with deadly force if necessary . This is how America projects its military power across the world, through 400+ bases and several aircraft super-carriers, with the majority of that force going unused. It's still a projection of power, and still subject to moral scrutiny; but having a military base parked outside Qatar, just in case, is not the same thing as "that military base is a tool for invading Qatar".
I get your core point; weapons being deadly is the whole point, and even weapons acquired purely for deterrence can lead to a positive feedback loop of escalation, resulting in violence that would not have occurred otherwise. And humans are not purely rational actors; there's a simple numbers game, where the more guns are in a populace, the deadlier a small number of maniacs or extremists are going to be. It's not a problem we should ignore, and it's frustrating that NRA hardliners seem to be fine with doing so.
I don't own a gun, and I'm in favor of something resembling "common sense gun control", as well as other harm reduction interventions (particularly universal mental health care); at the same time, I consider effective self-defense to be an inalienable human right (I don't declaw cats, either). But to say that guns exist only to kill is a little overly simplistic: to take another example, North Korea acquired nukes not to use them, but to dissuade the U.S. but ever thinking about instigating regime change. They know using them can only result in their immediate obliteration; yet owning them tilts the game-theoretic dynamic in their favor.
 Aircraft and drones somewhat change the dynamic on this, but we can consider those out of scope in a 2A debate.
You might event continue such a statement with something like "guns are a tool to kill, but it's not clear that their existence has lead to more killing than if they didn't exist."
The interesting data is what happens following the passage of gun control legislation. The proponents are always happy to point out that the number of murders involving the specific weapons being prohibited goes down, but no kidding. The real question is the effect on the overall number of murders (i.e. the ones that didn't just use a different weapon), and in particular the effect over and above the existing trendline. (You don't get to just take credit when the existing long-term trend of declining violent crime rates continues, you have to move the needle more than it was already expected to move.)
But the effect turns out to be little if anything. It turns out murders tend to be caused by things like drugs, gangs, domestic disputes or revenge moreso than access to firearms. People will use a gun if they have it, but there are a hundred different ways to kill a man and taking away one doesn't change much. Also, a disproportionate number of murders are committed by gangs with no qualms about using prohibited weapons anyway.
It actually has a more significant effect on suicides, because some of the most popular alternative suicide methods aren't as effective (as opposed to the most popular alternative homicide methods which mostly are). But we already separate known suicidal people from guns (and shoelaces etc.), and it seems like the better answer there should have more to do with addressing the fact that so many people are suicidal so that the question of which method they might use becomes irrelevant.
America definitely has a serious problem with violence in general and we can't just blame Chicago or whatever other flavor of the day the NRA has picked.
More than 77% of homicide victims in the US are male.
Target practice is just practicing getting better at killing.
Crime deterrent is threatening to kill.
It's valuable because it's good at killing.
It's a well crafted killing machine.
It makes one feel less vulnerable because you hold the ability to instantly kill someone.
Why deny the gun's purpose is to kill? It seems to imply you think it's bad to kill people, as if we could demonstrate that yes guns are only good at killing people, it might risk your guns being taken away? Seems the strongest rhetorical position is one that argues in favor of the gun's ability to kill and why people should be allowed to have that ability.
I enjoy target and clay shooting but I believe they are simply metaphors for the gun's original purpose which is to shoot living things.
We're kinda off track the original topic here though :p
That is to say, whether or not you do something safely has no bearing on whether or not something is designed for killing.
Explosives are used by the military to kill the enemy, but you follow all the tenants of explosives safety when you're blasting on a construction site too.
Seems pretty farfetched given that nearly all of the people who shoot targets neither intend to nor actually do ever kill anyone.
Would you argue that the purpose of a baseball is killing people because it's practicing getting better at throwing a rock? To say nothing of javelin.
> Crime deterrent is threatening to kill.
Would you say that the purpose of the criminal justice system is to put people in jail and it fails if it manages to deter crime and then doesn't actually have to put people in jail?
> It's valuable because it's good at killing.
Why can't it be valuable because it's good for target shooting or for deterring crime?
> It's a well crafted killing machine.
That's just assuming the conclusion. If it's a killing machine then it's a well crafted killing machine, but if its purpose is to look pretty (or look scary) or satisfy local cultural norms or make a political statement, then it's a well crafted political statement.
> It makes one feel less vulnerable because you hold the ability to instantly kill someone.
Which is a similar situation to serving as a deterrent -- it succeeds even when you don't use it to kill anyone. Especially then.
> Why deny the gun's purpose is to kill? It seems to imply you think it's bad to kill people, as if we could demonstrate that yes guns are only good at killing people, it might risk your guns being taken away? Seems the strongest rhetorical position is one that argues in favor of the gun's ability to kill and why people should be allowed to have that ability.
Killing might be a purpose of a gun, but it's being alleged that it's the only purpose. Which still doesn't make sense given that it's mostly not what they're actually used for in practice.
Killing people isn't even a purpose in general, or if it is then it's a bad one. A purpose is a motive, not a means. Nobody sane has a motive of killing for no reason. Plenty of sane people have a motive of winning a sporting event or not getting robbed.
This is why "guns are for killing" is political rhetoric. Killing is bad and everybody knows it, so if guns are only for killing then guns are bad. But if guns are for deterring crime or similar, deterring crime is good and not deterring crime is bad. It's a much harder motive to argue against because it's a legitimate motive, whereas killing for no reason is just a strawman.
The baseball comparison doesn't stand: in the hands of an adult, a great deal of work is involved in killing someone with a baseball. Threatening to kill someone with a baseball doesn't immediately give you power of life and death over them - they can fight back or run. And in the hands of a child, the baseball is harmless, no matter the harm the child wants to mete with it.
A gun is none of those things. A toddler can kill in an instant with a gun, and this has happened, and will continue to happen.
Guns are for killing. Of all the things just about any American to handle, they are the best at killing. If we stop letting people walk around with guns, there's nothing they could carry instead with even close to the level of accessible (a toddler could use it) killing power.
Like I said before, maybe try acknowledging that and arguing from their killing power perspective? I think there are strong 2fa arguments regarding the ability of minorities to defend themselves that center around the gun's design in making it extremely easy to kill people.
Are you unaware of the fact that this is exact argument made by those who argue for the 2nd amendment? While you could argue that they are fear-mongers, with the tree of liberty talk, you can't then go on to talk about a threat to democracy by way of the government's constant violation of citizen's other rights (the 4th in this case). Emotional appeals are much easier for the confiscation proponents, because nobody expects internal consistency from someone waving a bloody shirt.
Almost all democracies gives the government an exclusive right to violence. The government can order the army and police to shot people, while every citizen are forbidden to make a similar decision. The exception that exist are narrow defined and up to the legal system to decide per case if a decision to kill by a citizen can be forgiven based on circumstances.
Almost no democracies gives the government an exclusive right to private communication and private secrets. Countries which governments does claim an exclusivity in this area are called totalitarian and is seen by many as the contradicting in terms to the definition of democracy.
> ...exclusive right to violence.
I know that duty to retreat is much more common outside of the US, but I don't think any democracy demands that you just die in the face of a determined attacker - which would be required in your "exclusive right" characterization. While the classic way of describing it is a "monopoly on violence", the scenario you describe would be better characterized as an exclusive right to classify murder and manslaughter.
> ...exclusive right to private communication and private secrets.
Because that would be impossible, as they can't exclusively have a right to information that you generated - at worst it would be a shared right. The US does claim shared rights to everything that is possible though: the moment you share that information with anyone they claim that right - 3rd party doctrine.
Your two points would have better symmetry if you added that bit about the definition of democracy onto the end of both. That would make it easier to spot the fact that you've just made the exact same "threat to democracy" argument I just replied to.
The 4th amendment was written with the express intent that it only protects you when the government (embodies as the judicial branch) feels it should. Also, given the past 200+ years of jurisprudence on the 2nd and 4th amendments, I’d say that the 2nd amendment is absolutely a stronger guarantee than the 4th. There may be some right to privacy read into the text of the Bill of Rights, but that right is not universal and not inalienable by the government.
That's exactly right. It's a rare, exceptional case that someone really has to defend their life with lethal force. If you must but legally can't, how free are you?
It's an even rarer case that you would absolutely need unbreakable end-to-end encryption. So yeah, it's the same argument, and you're right that one is less valid than the other.
I’m not claiming that these deaths do not matter, I’m just saying that the impact of firearms is much more prominently discussed than other causes of death. I find it very much in line with the emotional pleas against encryption.
If you’re going to insist on a teleological argument, you might as well use the same standard we use for other tools: how people actually end up using them. No rational person describes knives as “tools to stab people” even though this is part of the historical basis for their development. Instead, the vast majority of knives are used to cut food or spread butter or open boxes. Indeed, these are all more plausible descriptions of what a knife is “for”, just like target shooting or hunting food is a much more plausible description of what guns are for.
- 39,773 firearm related deaths (including suicide) as a decent base yearly rate [this is the actual 2017 number]
14,542 firearm homicides as a decent base yearly rate [again, actual 2017 number]
Some clay tablets from Mesopotamia somewhat later are clearly meant to protect information—one dated near 1500 BC was found to encrypt a craftsman's recipe for pottery glaze, presumably commercially valuable.
Also, a lot of those older cryptic hieroglyphs turned out to be in an early Northwestern Semitic language. The idea was apparently that you're going to have spells effective against snakes coming in on ships from Byblos, the spells should invoke the deities they know in the language they know.
Guns can be used either to kill things, or to practice at getting better at killing things.
> this is not a good comparison
> tools made to kill
> pretty much puts people's lives at risk
It’s still a good thing. But let’s not pretend there’s no cost.
Freedoms have a price, and that price is often the inability of the state to protect us from malevolent members of society.
That true for guns, and it’s true for encryption.
There’s shared ground between the NRA and EFF.
I just wish more conservative, law-and-order types would realize that.
No, not having guns at worst would deprive minorities of the ability to protect themselves. It is not only a hobby; it is also an effective means of self-defense.
Are we talking about America? Where those same minorities are shot for holding toy guns?
Racism and police violence are real problems that need to be addressed, but taking away guns is not the solution.
For 110 pound woman this might be a large man who wants to rape her, or for a 200 pound man capable of reasonable self-defense this might mean somebody attempting to rob him at knife point.
Maybe we could figure out whatever that is and work on that, instead of focusing on gun ownership, which demonstrably does not lead to more violence, and in most cases, leads to less violence.
That is: you're arguing that wet streets cause rain.
Funny you should word it that way, because the Founders had a similar attitude about firearms:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The answers you receive to your comment are a proof of this, and I, for one, felt a strong emotional urge to respond :)
Yet I don't know anybody personnally who has been killed by a crane or a forklift and still want those to only be in the hands of trained professionals.
Some tools demultiply the potential for a single human to do damage so much that I don't want any individual to casually be able to yield them.
You cannot have an encryption accident in the same way you can have a car accident. It's ok to use signal drunk, it's not more dangerous than drunk irc. It's ok tu use https if you are uneducated or in rage, it's not more dangerous than http. You have a can fully encrypted veracrypt file in the hand of children. Nobody is going to kill you with a pgp key. Your encrypted hard drive has no more storage risk than the regular one, even in a plane or in a facility with fire hazard.
All in all, encryption works by making it hard to do damages to you. It's passive. Weapons work by promising than attempting to do damages to you will result in damages to them as well. It's an important nuance.
That being said, I go to the shooting range myself. I like it. It's fun, and it's a knowledge I don't want an elite to be the only owner of. But I want my ability to do so to be heavily supervised.
Not so with encryption.
Within the US, there is no statistically significant correlation (r = -0.02) on the state level between firearm ownership and firearm homicide. (There is a statistically significant correlation between firearm ownership and firearm deaths, but this is due to suicides.)
Make of this what you will, but it's not substantiated by the facts the claim that restricting gun ownership would have a strong impact on homicides.
You can look at this list and sort by gun murder rate and see what kind of states come out on top: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_Sta...
Here is a strongly political Medium article about the matter: https://medium.com/handwaving-freakoutery/everybodys-lying-a...
These statements are misleading as they stand because the variation in the US is so high. Basically, for all types of violent crimes, the US is divided into two very different regions: (1) particular large urban and dense suburban areas, which have rates of violent crime higher than any other developed country; and (2) the rest of the country, which has rates of violent crime lower than almost any other developed country. Even looking at the stats by state doesn't fully capture this dichotomy.
The urban/rural divide is a good starting point. If you look at the stats, an even clearer pattern emerges:
What sets Washington D.C., Louisiana, Mississippi, and Maryland apart from Maine, Vermont, Hawaii, and New Hampshire?
Lower than the overall rate of the other comparable countries? Or lower than the non urban portion of the other developed countries?
For comparable countries (e.g., Switzerland), they're basically the same; comparable countries don't have the same large disparity in crime rates.
Maybe the rest of the world should stop telling Americans to control gun ownership (ie ”ban guns”, despite nobody ever suggesting a total ban) and instead we should be promoting control of Americans (ie. “ban Americans”, although nobody would suggest a total ban. I’m sure zoos would want some).
More like "Americans are more subject (relative to, say, Europeans) to the economic and mental health hardships that typically beget violent crime".
That is, I'm far less motivated to rob a store at gunpoint if I can actually feed myself and my family through legitimate means. I'm far less motivated to kill someone in anger if I have access to mental health resources that can help me address that anger less destructively. I'm far less motivated to join a gang if my life - and that of my family - doesn't depend on me doing so (or more precisely, if that gang is no longer able to convince me of that).
Guns are tools. Taking away the tool does not take away the desire to commit crime. I'd expect Hacker News, of all places, to understand the importance of root cause analysis.
Guess how society generally tries to overcome the problem of death and injury caused by "incorrectly" operating those tools?
Education, combined with testing (i.e. government-enforced licensing for operation of the tool).
A gun is a tool. A goodly number of the models favoured by Americans have the capacity to very quickly cause a death and injury to a unit of people colloquially known as "a fucking lot" when operated correctly.
Guess how society (outside of America) tries to overcome the problem of death and injury caused by "correctly" operating those tools?
Education, combined with testing, and in many case, restrictions on which kind of "tools" are deemed an acceptable "tool" for one of the tasks it can achieve, outside of death and injury to other humans.
No one needs an AR-15/etc for hunting deer or bears or whatever other lesser animal needs to die, or sport shooting, or anything really, other than laying down covering fire against the "Charlies in the trees". It'd be like if you decided to buy a 400ton mining truck, and drive it on the road.
At 9m+ wide, with a turning circle of 42m, it's safe to assume the level of damage to the roads and infrastructure wherever you go, could be measured with a unit colloquially known as "a fucking lot".
Gun control laws does not equal a ban on guns. Most US states require no licensing to own and no permit to purchase a firearm, and a number require no special license to carry it on your person in public, either concealed or otherwise. Those that do impose an age limit, generally set it at 18 - so you can buy a tool to murder your neighbours but you can't buy a bud light.
The AR-15 undoubtedly has a military background, although it isn't the exact same weapon as the M16. Does this mean firearms with a less militaristic style, like the Ruger Mini-14, should be allowed?
This weapon wasn't banned during the assault weapons ban, for example. Yet from a purely mechanical point of view, bullets come out of the operational end when you pull the trigger. It is no less unpleasant to get shot by a sport or hunting rifle, even if the designer did not intend for it to ever be used against humans.
.... You realise that there are dozens of examples of other countries that have enacted gun control, and then seen gun violence go down, right?
> The AR-15 undoubtedly has a military background, although it isn't the exact same weapon as the M16. Does this mean firearms with a less militaristic style, like the Ruger Mini-14, should be allowed?
Ok, so a few things here.
(a) I just referenced AR-15's because most people have heard of them. A mini-14 is no more appropriate for sport shooting than the aforementioned AR15.
(b) The rifle you mentioned is named so because it resembles a previous military rifle (M14), and is itself used by a number of military and law enforcement agencies around the world, so it's still "military style" anyway
(c) My point was that semi-automatic rifles aren't needed for hunting, or target shooting, regardless of how "militaristic" they look. 12 people being shot in a school aren't going to feel any less shot because the gun doesn't look like the military use it.
> This weapon wasn't banned during the assault weapons ban,
Given that the law in question required a weapon to have 2 feature from a list that includes grenade launcher to be considered a "assault weapon", that's not really surprising. It's a semi-automatic rifle. It also wouldn't be affected by a ban on trans fats either.
> It is no less unpleasant to get shot by a sport or hunting rifle
If someone is shooting into a crowd with a bolt action rifle, you are a lot less likely to be shot in the first place. That's literally the whole fucking point: it's a much slower rate of fire.
Abroad, I'm only familiar with Australia, which didn't see any significant effects either way. There was a secular decline in firearm violence which continued through the ban, but it doesn't appear as if the ban had anything to do with it - the USA saw an even larger decline, and it doesn't seem to have dropped any faster after the ban.
It seems like the easiest way is to just look at the USA, where there is no correlation at all. So on a state level, these regulations are utterly ineffectual. It does not seem to follow that more of the same would have any effect.
It is sort of like metal detectors in airports: On some level, it makes intuitive sense that they should help, but in reality they are just useless security theater - it's possible to build a grenade from stuff you can buy after airport security, and people have accidentally brought guns on planes without knowing it.
> If someone is shooting into a crowd with a bolt action rifle, you are a lot less likely to be shot in the first place. That's literally the whole fucking point: it's a much slower rate of fire.
On the other hand, the opportunities for serious terrorism are arguably worse.
I'm okay with this, to an extent.
> and in many case, restrictions on which kind of "tools" are deemed an acceptable "tool" for one of the tasks it can achieve, outside of death and injury to other humans.
I'm not okay with this. Who are you to declare from on high which tools are acceptable for a given task?
> No one needs an AR-15/etc for hunting deer or bears or whatever other lesser animal needs to die
No one needs an AR-15 to kill people, either. Indeed, the vast majority of gun violence (among civilians at least) is with guns that are very much not "an AR-15/etc". If you actually care about reducing death by guns, you'd be going after the Glocks, not the ArmaLites.
Bringing up the AR-15 betrays an opinion driven mostly by emotion and irrationality. It's a gun that "looks scary" despite being no more lethal than any other semiautomatic .223 rifle (among which there are a lot, and despite your implied belief to the contrary, the .223 is a very common caliber for hunting/varmint rifles, and semiautomatics - while not as common as bolt-actions - are still pretty mainstream for hunting).
Again: who are you to declare from on high which tools are acceptable for a given task?
> It'd be like if you decided to buy a 400ton mining truck, and drive it on the road.
No, it'd be like if you decided to buy a Tundra instead of a Tacoma (the Tacoma here being, say, a Ruger Mini-14). A "400ton mining truck" in this context would be something more like the GAU8/A.
> Gun control laws does not equal a ban on guns.
Not yet, but anyone with a basic understanding of what the Overton Window is can see the writing on the wall.
> Those that do impose an age limit
I can't think of a single place where there's not an age limit to buy either the firearm itself or the ammunition thereof. I don't require a permit to purchase here in Nevada, for example, but I still had to present ID and go through a background check. And Nevada's among the most gun-friendly states in the US, even after the Las Vegas shooting.
> so you can buy a tool to murder your neighbours but you can't buy a bud light.
You can do a lot of things before you can buy a Bud Light that you can't do before you're an adult. Quite a few over-the-counter drugs, for example, fall into that category. I fail to see how that's relevant (unless you're arguing to lower the drinking age, in which case I'd have no real objection).
> I'm okay with this, to an extent.
Why would you not be fully on board with educating people when they want to use a deadly "tool"?
Edit: removed snippiness.
> Who are you to declare from on high which tools are acceptable for a given task?
Well, it isn't me though is it? I mean I'm writing the text but what I'm writing is what other governments have implemented successfully, based on simple logic.
Perhaps you could try less attacking me, and more explaining why a semi-automatic is required to hunt deer or shoot targets?
> If you actually care about reducing death by guns, you'd be going after the Glocks, not the ArmaLites.
... Still a semi-automatic dude.
> Bringing up the AR-15 betrays an opinion driven mostly by emotion and irrationality.
As I mentioned in a reply to another user: I mentioned it because most people know it. That's all. In reality the point is about all semi-autos, either long barrel or pistols.
> the .223 is a very common caliber for hunting/varmint rifles
I don't know whether you're unaware that .223 is used in bolt-action rifles too, you just want to ignore that aspect because it makes your argument stronger, or you actually just meant .223 semi-automatics are common for that "task" - it's irrelevant. My point is that it's unnecessary - you don't need a semi-automatic to hunt, unless you're fucking shit at it.
> who are you to declare from on high which tools are acceptable
Again: you need to explain why a semi-automatic is required for hunting or some other non-people-killing activity. Unless Americans uniquely have decided that "hunting" now means mowing into a crowd of deer/what have you in some kind of perverse attempt to justify the use of a semi-auto for "hunting".
> No, it'd be like if you decided to buy a Tundra instead of a Tacoma (the Tacoma here being, say, a Ruger Mini-14).
Well given that both are semi-autos, and you just compared two 'pickup trucks' I guess at least the analogy is somewhat correct but you've missed the point, and keep somehow obsessing about a different semi-auto rifle just because it's less popular with Americans. That doesn't make it not a semi-auto.
> Not yet
Seriously, slippery slope argument?
> I can't think of a single place where there's not an age limit to buy either the firearm itself or the ammunition thereof.
Well federal law stipulates 18, but I have zero clue how you enforce that on private sales without any kind of licensing or permits required.
> I don't require a permit to purchase here in Nevada, for example, but I still had to present ID and go through a background check. And Nevada's among the most gun-friendly states in the US, even after the Las Vegas shooting.
Well you (Nevada) need a permit for concealed carry and background checks are required (by the state, it seems some counties are ignoring that law), so no you aren't among the most 'gun-friendly'. Plenty of states require no background check, no permits for concealed carry, etc.
To clarify: I'm fully on-board with education. I'm wary about licensing/permits primarily because they have potential for discriminatory abuse against "undesirables" (e.g. ethnic/religious/sexual minorities, political dissidents, etc.), especially in places with "may issue" rules instead of "shall issue" (like seriously, how exactly is one supposed to judge "good moral character" without making personal biases inevitable?).
> Perhaps you could try less attacking me
That's fair. Sorry for my own snippiness.
> and more explaining why a semi-automatic is required to hunt deer or shoot targets?
To be clear, very few people are hunting deer with .223 (that I know of); that's more the purview of, say, the .30-06 or .308 (which are better-rated for medium/large game). .223 (and .22LR, on that note - another possible chambering for AR-15s, by the way) are more common for the smaller end of game (think rabbits) or livestock-attacking pets (think coyotes).
As for why a semi-automatic would be desirable, that should be obvious if you're dealing with multiple rabbits or multiple coyotes or multiple whatever else you're hunting (hell, in the case of defending yourself or some other human being against coyotes, having a semi-automatic could be a literal lifesaver).
And as for targets, well, you generally want to practice shooting the guns you'd actually use in the field. That's how you learn to use them safely, responsibly, and effectively. Even with, say, competitive target shooting, competitions specifically for semi-automatic firearms are not unusual.
In general, a semi-automatic is arguably easier to use than, say, a bolt-action or break-action or lever-action; it's therefore not unreasonable for people to prefer them.
Also, ARs specifically happen to be both highly modular/customizable (making it flexible enough to fill a lot of different niches - including hunting) and relatively affordable.
> ... Still a semi-automatic dude.
Well yeah, the vast majority of handguns owned by Americans are. You're still not addressing my point, though: why are we fixated on semi-automatic rifles when semi-automatic pistols seem to be the preference for those actually using guns to commit violent crimes?
(That's partially meant to be a rhetorical question - I'd argue that it's specifically because an AR-15 "looks scary" and because mass shootings with rifles, despite being a negligible proportion of gun deaths, tend to get higher-profile news coverage - but if you have another explanation I'd be interested in discussing that)
> Seriously, slippery slope argument?
Just because a slippery slope exists does not make it automatically fallacious, especially when you have politicians like Beto O'Rourke or Donald "take the guns first, due process later" Trump betraying the end-goal of repeated "compromise".
Again: the end goal should be patently obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of how the Overton Window works.
> but I have zero clue how you enforce that on private sales without any kind of licensing or permits required.
Maybe the same way you'd enforce similar laws against adults giving cigs or booze or pot to minors?
> so no you aren't among the most 'gun-friendly'
I meant culturally, not necessarily legally. Even legally, though, there are relatively few restrictions on the types of guns one may own (no "assault weapon" ban), lots of reciprocity with other states re: concealed carry permits, state-wide "shall issue" policy for concealed carry permits, state preemption of open carry laws (i.e. counties/cities can't impose further restrictions, with the sole exception of designating "safe discharge" areas), and state preemption of firearm registration laws (which eliminated Clark County's firearm registration program), among many other factors.
Really the only significantly gun-unfriendly policy is the recent "red flag" law included in AB 291 (which also included a bump stock ban and safe storage requirements, both of which IMO are reasonable, even if I personally disagree with the former). I'm concerned about the risk of abuse of such a system, and hope that Nevada's implementation can resist the seemingly-inevitable risk of treating skin color or sexual orientation or political activism as one of those "red flags".
> Plenty of states require no background check
Literally all states require background checks for sales through licensed dealers (that's a federal law). It's the so-called "gun show loophole" that states currently have discretion on. You're right that Nevada closed that loophole, but IMO that ain't really much of a dent in its gun-friendliness given the above IMO-significantly-more-impactful factors.
Perhaps worry about addressing the issue of discrimination then? Do ethnic or sexual minorities currently have difficulties obtaining a drivers licence?
> that should be obvious if you're dealing with multiple rabbits or multiple coyotes or multiple whatever else you're hunting
I've been rabbit (or maybe they were hares? Never seen rabbits that big before) hunting with a group of friends (only one had serious experience and owned the rifles used), and literally the only way I can see that a semi-auto action would have helped was because no one (except the owner) had any real experience shooting. Unless the animals are in a fucking pen, there's no way they're not moving in every fucking direction they can the moment they hear the first shot, so unless you're against a militant bugs bunny in a fox-hole, or you're a professional hunter (i.e. you're being paid to hunt the animals en-masse), I don't buy this angle, sorry. Can you use a semi-auto to hunt rabbits? Of course. You could use a fucking shovel or a kitchen knife or a god damn bazooka to hunt rabbits if you're determined enough. The point is that the risk to other humans increases greatly when the general population has relatively easy access to semi-automatic weapons, of any kind.
> why are we fixated on semi-automatic rifles when semi-automatic pistols seem to be the preference for those actually using guns to commit violent crimes?
"We" aren't. I'm sorry if my posts gave that impression. Semi-auto pistols (so, essentially, pistols, unless you're gonna carry around a Derringer?) are indeed likely more of a problem in overall gun violence, and their legitimate usefulness for anything besides killing/injuring another person are even more limited than semi-auto rifles.
Despite what people may think, semi-automatic rifles and pistols are not banned in Australia. They're heavily regulated.
Want to use a semi-auto rifle? You need to prove that you're using it for some serious animal control. Some actual farmers may still be using them but my understanding is that it's mostly 'professional' shooters now, e.g. controlling/culling kangaroos, camels, wild pigs, etc from helicopters.
Want to use a semi-auto pistol? Become a cop, become an armed security guard, or join a target shooting club and leave the gun at the club. That's pretty much the only way to get a Cat.H license now, to my knowledge. You can of course go to a shooting range and shoot some of the above stuff supervised without a licence or gun of your own, but I somehow doubt that even classifies as "the real thing" for Americans does it?
We've been working on that for nearly 250 years now. That doesn't happen overnight.
Re: discrimination with drivers' licenses, said licenses are "shall issue", so there's a lot less room for discrimination than, say, a concealed carry permit in a "may issue" county in California; the criteria are based solely on (ostensibly) objective assessments of driving ability rather than nebulous factors like "being of good moral character".
> there's no way they're not moving in every fucking direction
Yet another reason why a semi-automatic rifle makes hunting them easier.
> You could use a fucking shovel or a kitchen knife
Unless you're Usain Bolt that probably ain't gonna work too well.
> or a god damn bazooka
That... defeats the whole point of hunting rabbits in the first place, lol (unless you're doing it solely as pest control, e.g. because they're eating your crops, but 1) that seems excessively cruel and 2) that seems like it'd leave your crops worse off).
> so, essentially, pistols, unless you're gonna carry around a Derringer?
Or a single-action revolver.
> and their legitimate usefulness for anything besides killing/injuring another person are even more limited than semi-auto rifles.
High-caliber pistols are useful for defense against predators like bears (non-lethal deterrents - e.g. bear spray - are obviously preferable, but plenty of hunters carry a handgun with them for this purpose nonetheless). There are also hunters who hunt with pistols for the challenge of it (similarly to why hunters hunt with bows beyond reasons of traditionalism or legality).
I think, however, you've pre-assumed that killing or injuring someone (or being able to threaten to do so) is not also a legitimate purpose of these tools, even for civilians. I'd argue on the contrary; self defense is a very valid reason to use these tools for what you claim is their primary purpose. They are obviously the absolute last resort, but they are a resort that sometimes must be taken to defend oneself or others from the imminent and tangible threat of violence, and I for one would much rather have that tool available in my toolbox, so to speak.
There are numerous reasons why reliance on law enforcement to do this is inadequate, chief among them being
1) Law enforcement officers in the US have a track record of racial discrimination (and while I'm white, I have siblings and nieces/nephews and other family members - not to mention friends and colleagues - who are not, and for whom reliance on racist police to keep them safe is a crapshoot at best). Like I mentioned above, the US has been chipping away at the problem of systematic racism for its entire existence, and it ain't a problem we'll solve overnight; in the meantime, minorities still need the right to defend themselves against violence.
2) Unless there's a law enforcement officer on every street corner (and even then), it's highly improbable that they are in any position to actually stop a violent crime from happening; at best, they're frequently put in the position of after-the-fact investigation and enforcement. This is a factor even in urban areas (a police officer being a minute away is cold comfort when you already have a gun or knife in your face), let alone in rural areas where police response time might be on the scale of hours.
> Despite what people may think, semi-automatic rifles and pistols are not banned in Australia. They're heavily regulated.
Ain't that the same country where bikies are somehow getting their hands on rocket launchers?
I assume you're referring to the 10 RPG's that were marked for destruction, but instead sold to criminals by the Army officer who was responsible for them, 17 years ago ?
I sympathise with the issue of racial discrimination, but as I said before, if the issue is racial discrimination, in particular when dealing with a member of law enforcement, adding a gun to the mix doesn't really sound like a smart solution. The smart solution would be to solve discrimination. Perhaps start with a simple policy of not hiring racists as cops, and firing those who are already cops? Radical idea I know.
If your argument for why the average man-on-the-street needs a gun is "well someone else might have a gun" and you don't see how that is a clearly active 'slippery slope', I can't help you.
Elected officials in your country have suggested - seriously - that the problem to "gun attacks in schools" is... "give the teachers guns", because apparently those officials live in some fantasy world where teachers are perfect and infallible, and students are all on the honour roll without a single infraction for misbehaviour. I mean seriously this idea is fucking insane. I imagine if they had a house in the path of a wild fire, and for some reason had a bunch of highly flammable material, their solution would be "let's stack it up around the house".
This is why I made the original comment: if violence (and apparently discrimination) is so ingrained in American culture, and gun control won't work (either because of lack of trying or because unlike every other country it actually doesn't work in the US), then problem is clearly not the guns but the culture, and if you won't control the bans, we (the rest of the world) should simply control the culture.
Sounds about right. And yeah, that might sound like a one-off issue from a long time ago, but if even Australia ain't immune to improper disposal, the US' prospects don't seem like they'd be much better.
More to the point: the ACIC estimates Australia to still have hundreds of thousands of guns in illicit circulation (i.e. not corresponding to authorized civilian ownership): https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/citation/quotes/13159
> The smart solution would be to solve discrimination.
And as I said before, that doesn't happen overnight.
> Perhaps start with a simple policy of not hiring racists as cops, and firing those who are already cops?
And neither does that, especially when the very people hiring those cops are themselves racists/homophobes/fascists or otherwise sympathetic with them, or (far enough up the chain) are outright elected by them.
Besides, that still doesn't address the issues with response time; even if all cops are perfectly just and rational and moral and do their jobs perfectly, until we invent teleportation and/or build a pool for some telepathic teenagers to swim around in and predict crimes before they happen, they are very unlikely to actually stop crime before it's already happened, at which point it's too late and the best you can do is hope the perpetrator gets caught before committing further crime.
> If your argument for why the average man-on-the-street needs a gun is "well someone else might have a gun"
No, there's no "might" in that argument. Criminals already have guns. They will continue to have guns even if we were to ban civilian gun ownership entirely (thankfully nobody of political significance is suggesting going that far, at least not yet). Some of those criminals, in fact, happen to wear badges and uniforms, and are exempt from such restrictions (and will continue to be for as long as they wear those badges and uniforms).
> Elected officials in your country have suggested
Elected officials in my country have suggested plenty of ridiculous things, like mandating that pi = 3 or banning end-to-end encryption.
> I mean seriously this idea is fucking insane.
Do you have a specific objective reason for that belief?
If a teacher wants to carry a firearm in the defense of oneself and one's students, and is voluntarily trained and certified to do so safely and responsibly, I don't fundamentally see a problem with that. There's not really an objective reason to object to it, with the possible sole exception of "what if a student snatches the gun off the teacher's holster" (which is applicable to law enforcement and security personnel, too, if not more so, and yet rarely happens, especially with modern holsters being designed specifically to prevent that).
And frankly, I'm more inclined to trust the average teacher to wield a firearm than I do the average police officer. The latter is statistically more likely to just end up killing the students one's ostensibly there to "protect and serve". The former is statistically more likely to actually care about the students' well being.
You're right that outright mandating it as a job duty is insane, though; nobody (or at least no civilian) should be forced to carry a firearm, especially when one is not comfortable or experienced/practiced with using one, for the same reason nobody should be forced to vote in an election or speak a politically-dissenting opinion or otherwise exercise one's Constitutional rights.
> then problem is clearly not the guns but the culture
Or, like I originally said (and to which you seemingly haven't really responded), the economic and mental health factors that are the much more visible and obvious and Occam's-razor-compatible difference between the United States and the rest of the "West". Guns don't magically induce criminal intent, nor do they magically induce mental health problems. People with criminal intent or mental health problems still have those problems regardless of whether or not they have legal access to guns. If we fix those problems, then they wouldn't feel as strong of a desire to hurt people in the first place, let alone with guns.
Those problems don't fix themselves overnight, either, but even partially fixing them makes things a lot better for a lot more people than even perfectly-executed gun control does.
I may have said before on this site, but we, as a group, suck at framing issues. We try to appeal to logic and reason, while other groups play full-blown manipulation campaigns. It also does not help that as a group we are not that cohesive.
1. It's vilified, by the numbers more people use this safely than for harm
2. Sure it can be used for harm but it's the only thing stopping the government from taking over
3. It's so simple that you could build it at home, and banning it would amount to banning math/geometry
4. The bad guys will have it anyways
5. Bringing up the 2nd/1st amendment a lot
6. Violence/identity theft will increase
Anyways, not to pass value on any of the arguments, just wanted to note that I've seen a pattern in the types of arguments made.
Things were so bad in the United States, why would everybody want to come here?
Don’t be so salty ;)
Because the statistics are against you for the vast majority of people who don't live in crime prone areas.
For people in relatively low crime areas, the mere presence of a handgun has increased their extremely low probability of death by an inordinate amount because of gun accidents. The probability is still low, but is vastly higher than if a gun wasn't present at all.
You can argue that this is due to stupid gun owners. Perhaps, but as technology folks, we also understand that you set up systems so incidents don't occur in the first place.
Every single person I know who has a handgun has at least one "accident" over 20-30 years. I know of zero who actually used a handgun against a criminal.
I will also point out, that I know a lot of people with rifles and shotguns, and those almost never have "accidents". I think I know of one over the last 30 years. Draw your own conclusions.
Obviously, if I lived in a high crime area or in a profession where it mattered, that's different.
You set up technologies for this, yes. In this particular case, you design handguns that are much harder to have accidents with.
You do not set up legal systems to restrict everyone's liberty because some people have accidents.
We have building codes for this reason. You can't just throw up a house wherever and however you want.
We have driver's licenses for this reason. You will wear your glasses if you need them, for example, or you will get a ticket.
We have food safety inspectors and food laws (including those around food trucks that blew up) for this reason.
(source: https://itstillruns.com/history-drivers-license-5552087.html )
Speed limits are revenue sources and bear little if any relation to actual road safety. The extremely low level of enforcement of them is proof enough of that.
Driving licenses don't stop people from driving, so they are not a good analogy to what anti-gun people want to do with legal restrictions on guns. Driving licenses are analogous to permissive gun licenses in "shall issue" states, where the government can't deny you a license unless it has abundant evidence that you are simply incapable of properly handling the relevant technology (cars or guns). Considering how easy it is to pass a driving test, that's a pretty low bar. And roughly the same number of people in the US are killed each year by cars and by guns (although a much higher percentage of gun deaths are suicides, so if we just consider people killing others, cars are worse).
Guns are like vaccines, I think. If only some people own guns for self-defense, as you say, they will not have too much use for them. But if some double-digit fraction of the population are packing heat at any given time, there is a sort of "herd immunity" effect. While the individual chance any single individual will get to use them is still low, it will put powerful incentives against robbery and free up our prisons.
In the real world, the police can get into anywhere, and get basically any physical object, once they have a warrant. Most people seem to agree that is reasonable -- I don't think there is a big push for an easy way for people to hide physical objects from police.
Compare that to remote backdoor access to everyone's encrypted communications. All they have to do is push a button in order to instantly get access to someone's mail, calls, instant messages, social media, phone location history, etc. Abusing this power is a trivial matter and there is little if any oversight. The Five Eyes intercept, decrypt and store even their own citizen's communications as a matter of course and will tip off law enforcement so they can parallel construct a case using means of investigation that are actually legal. Intelligence employees have been known to abuse their powers to spy on their significant others, a practice that became known as LOVEINT. People who are a threat to those in power -- political opposition, whistle blowers, journalists, dissidents -- will probably be targeted despite their rights to privacy.
In order to obtain encrypted communications, police forces should have to get a warrant and obtain the physical storage media that contains the messages they want.
Could this principle be applied to encryption? A cryptosystem for personal communications carefully designed to be crackable using certain amount of resources. So getting access to one person's data would cost you say $1000 of cloud resources. And first you have to obtain an escrowed hash to crack using a warrant.
Would this be acceptable to public?
Much as you can build a physical policing system with or without oversight and with or without covert powers, you can do the same for encryption. It is absolutely possible to build a system where the company, the police, and the courts all need to agree in order to hand over access — in fact it's more possible than with physical security. It's also possible to build regulatory bodies that make relevant details publically visible.
On the procedural side its trivial to degenerate from
* subjects privacy is breached when the lawfully constituted authorities present proof to a judge of reasonable suspicion that subject has engaged in antisocial and immoral acts against society or its members
* it would be be awfully nice if we had access to everyone's personal data so that we could punish anyone we like for anything we like
In the United States we have already standardized on breaching everyone's privacy to the greatest degree possible with little or no recourse for the citizenry. Once you have all the information on whom speaks or believes in a certain way acting against them is a relatively smaller step.
On the technical side a centralized system is impossible to secure. When not if it is compromised to the victors go the spoils. It is comparatively harder at least to attack millions of clients even if in theory a central node could be used to compromise clients this can in practice trivially be made harder to exploit by just not allowing server to push to clients and not updating every second. Attacks may need to remain undetected for a substantial length of time before a substantial portion of the user base is poisoned and the chance of detection climbs towards 100% the more parties you attack.
Furthermore if you become 100% effective at detecting illegal porn shared via whatsapp doesn't it follow that users will use a decentralized means of transmitting illegal information. We would be substantially disadvantaging the population as a whole for little gain.
The biggest point is that backdooring everyone's communication will do exactly jack to prevent child abuse. It wont even make it much harder for scumbags to share it even more of them will use just use privacy preserving p2p applications. In fact if you fuck with everyone's sense of privacy you will be liable to push a much much larger portion of the population to use such tech.
The greater number of normal people who aren't drug dealers, crypto nerds, or pedos using stuff like TOR the harder it will be to pick out the weirdos. Meanwhile most of the harm to children wont be captured on digital media because it will keep happening when trusted adults abuse minors they ought to be protecting instead of harming.
Attacking the sexual abuse problem in America by backdooring communication platforms is about as effective as reducing deaths due to traffic accidents by hanging out in parking lots.
Can you explain what you’re getting at here? I don’t get how this fits into your argument.
Attacking the perverts sharing pictures is worthy but does almost nothing to prevent child abuse. The best case scenario is you expose a small portion of perverts and thus prevent idiots from trusting their kids with them.
Unfortunately attacking messaging services will do little to combat perverts sharing pictures as they can trivially switch to using slightly better technology.
The effect of multiplicative. Imagine you start with 1% of victimizers sharing media online. Imagine that you catch 1/10 of 1% of them before the rest figure out centralized sharing is not the best idea. You are now stuck with permanent downsides and will catch few additional people.
0.01 * 0.001 = 0.00001
The logical conclusion is that this isn't a very great way to combat child abuse.
Carry on with your discussion of why backdooring encryption is bad. I wasn’t commenting on that matter. This entire thread has no real discussion of how to solve the “encryption-while-scanning problem.” With the massive growth in CSAM sharing in the last few years, enabled by easy to use services like facebook and dropbox, it’s clear that solving this dilemma is just as important as protecting some normal person’s ability to use TOR. I’m extremely privacy focused, but I’m curious to learn if crippling fb/dropbox/etc is worth it for the sake of solving this issue.
Also, “traffic accidents” isn’t preferred, either! Do you hate me now? Language is important. I’m a transportation planner who focuses on safety, so I can talk about this all day.
Maximal crazy is implementing 1984 in order to pretend to stop child abuse while it continues to go on all around us.
Objects/documents aren't analogous to walls.
If you were required to have transparent walls then the police could put cameras everywhere in the street and use them to record everything that happens in your house. If your walls are opaque then they can't. Even if they get a warrant, there is no way to go back and look at a recording of what happened inside your house the day before, since the opaque walls prevented any such recording from being made. It's well analogous to transport encryption.
There will be no more freedom if we can't keep our thoughts secrets from the authority.
Is it, though? I mean, most people think all sorts of bad stuff happens on the internet, so playing to those emotions would garner more support.
> ... extreme ignorance, or because of a lust for the power and leverage...
The latter. They believe that tech companies have too much power right now.
By mandating that the encryption can't be end-to-end guarantees these large companies access to private data they wouldn't otherwise have. Data they can then use for their own gain. When people complain that they have that access, they'll now have the excuse the government made them do it.
Someone should move to amend this act to mandate new construction be transparent.
Which is frankly, much more honest than what the govt is selling reducing encryption as.
I keep on thinking the violations of privacy we have been enduring would spark some pushback but it has not. I know some very intelligent people who realize the implications, but they eventually just give in.
Honestly, with my cynical hat on, I feel this is actually being pushed by the marketing and advertisement lobbyists, such as Facebook, google and others, in order to data mine for advertisers into your communications..
Maybe my tinfoil hat is a little bit too big, but I really use encrypted communications so that at least there is one dialogue that's not being warped into advertisements for me.
I genuinely fear for future generations privacy, in all regards. It's worrying and it really does deserve more attention. It's so crazy to my younger nieces and nephews that when I was their age, I didn't have a phone. It blows their minds. And I'm only in my 30's.
There’s no reason to believe that. Criminals are just as lazy and stupid as everyone else. If e2e requires an extra step, fewer will use it. If it comes with their phones’ built-in messenger, more will use it.
Every unencrypted E-mail, SMS, ICQ chat among criminals of the past is evidence here: they could have all used PGP, or one-time pads. But they didn’t. For the same reason nobody in this thread has ever used a custom one-time pad implementation for any real communication: it’s fun to imagine when you’re in the shower planning your evil empire, but it sucks in reality.
Note that I agree that this law is a particularly stupid idea, and that e2e encryption should be considered a universal right. It’s just this argument I don’t buy.
You and I don't use custom e2e software because there are good products already available.
To somewhat counter the point about unencrypted communication between criminals, see the leaked opsec guides of some terrorist organizations. They're fairly sophisticated and it seems unlikely that lack of legally available solutions would prevent them from acquiring replacements.
You can't blame someone for not knowing what they don't know, but lawmakers are supposed to enact laws based on the benefit for their citizens. Seems not to be the case here.
Am I missing something?
Your pre-shared OTP can be a rack of 8TB hard drives delivered to an embassy by the Marine Corps which covers a whole lot of documents and media before it's exhausted.
After exchanging keys and pads in person, plug the device into a computer like a flash thumbdrive, and (with hypothetical software support) both people can now use the keys for end-to-end encryption without having to worry about authentication, and a utility could perform OTP while keeping track of how much random pad is remaining. If they want more pad, leave the devices plugged in longer. The actual encryption should be performed on the device, so the host computer never sees the keys/pad.
As long as crypto is hard to use, people will rely on centralized men in the middle. A key chain dongle that you could simply connect to your friend's dongle for a few seconds (or longer, if desires) is easy. Instead of trying to solve the entire authentication problem with PKI or web-of-trust, you let people solve the authentication problem themselves, using the social skills they already have. Yes, this isn't useful for communicating with someone you cannot meet physically; use some other solution for those situations.
(Imagine if this became popular and you could simply go to the local branch of your bank and plug your crypto dongle into a kiosk that generates a few months worth of random pad data so all of your online banking is secured by OTP)
 OTP requires truly random data, which probably requires some type of hardware entropy generator. Perhaps something like this: http://holdenc.altervista.org/avalanche/
Yubikey fits pretty close, I think. What purpose would you need it to be battery powered if it's USB?
The Yubikey has similar storage features and is the perfect size and shape. Unfortunately, it's missing the main feature I'm talking about: easy inter-device communication.
> What purpose would you need it to be battery powered if it's USB?
It needs to be self powered because
>> The key feature of the device is that touching two of the devices together
I want people to be able to protect their communication with someone simply by meeting them in person and touching their USB crypto devices together. It should be a device someone stores on their person along with their other security devices like their house/car keys. The goal is to make the crypto easy so the individual can use it in situations where they already solved the authentication problem. If exchanging keys with someone depends on something complex like a computer or phone, a lot of people won't use it.
I've mentioned this before, but I'd like to write a children's book that teaches one-time-pads. The book ends with little Jimmy getting hauled away by the feds for doing illegal math. Fun for children and parents!
The point of course, is to make clear how futile encryption restrictions are, and to perhaps make people wonder if it's really "the land of a free" when a child can commit a crime by doing some math. Fortunately, I think we're still a ways off from encryption being a crime.
I absolutely love this. Animal Farm comes to mind.
Please write this, our descendants need those echoes from the past.
In this case, you'd only need the asymmetric encryption to distribute the one-time pads.
No tinfoil hat needed unless we ask why Barr has made this a personal crusade.
To speak to your point on Barr, and I'll try to be neutral here, his motivations might very well be positive to protect the US people but the method is really panning out to be damaging long term.
Realistically, it will amplify signals/readings, so, it's outdated.
Anyway, what happens when messaging with ciphertext becomes illegal?
Back in the late 90s, Ron Rivest proposed Chaffing and Winnowing . In that scheme, no ciphertext is transmitted and therefore no encryption is involved; only plausible plaintext is transmitted. The receiver filters out the chaff, leaving only the intended message. Perhaps one could construct an end-to-end winnow-chaff scheme (E2EWC) to replace existing E2EE schemes.
Does that mean that implementing your own protocol becomes illegal too? And even your own programming language.
> Anyway, what happens when messaging with ciphertext becomes illegal?
Those who have nefarious intentions don't really care what the legality is.. Also those who are not nefarious encrypted aren't identified because they're encrypted.. Thats why this argument seems very.. Moronic at best.
I posted these this link yesterday to HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22491565
Defending these attacks on encryption require defending the same laws with ALL countries in the 5 eyes spying partnership. (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States & Canada). Failure to do so will ensure these laws will come into effect in time due to either A) the use of the 5 eyes pact to leverage the laws of other countries within the pact. Or B) through constantly pointing to the 'standard' set in Australia (or any country which does progress these laws, I use Australia as it has already implemented legislation which enables meta data collection & require participation in weakening encryption).
The Australian legal/political system IS the backdoor here.
But honestly... when the same idea tears across the planet at the same time from a dozen "independent" sources... how is that so hard to believe?
Person explaining: "It's establishes a committee to make sure people are using best practices to ensure child pornography etc isn't being distributed on their platforms"
Elected official: "Hmm, it actually sounds like this will help the children!"
Maybe it's just me shrug, but I have little faith in our elected officials to parse out the ramifications to encryption based on how the act is written.
Then its your duty to contact your Senators/Representative. It's not hard.
I see no reason why my local "representative" would bother listening to me.
This used to be true of secrets: if there was a legitimate reason for police to crack a safe, it was difficult, but possible. But with encryption, you no longer need 10x force; you need closer to (10^100)x force (not an expert, but close enough for illustration).
What's neglected/forgotten is that weakened crypto creates a power asymmetry in the other direction: while there's no way to scale safe-cracking to (10^100), such that the feds can auto-crack every safe at will, that is absolutely feasible for digital locks, if those locks are forced to be arbitrarily weak. The NSA would have the resources to pre-crack and cache every single encrypted signal, "just in case".
The nature of the mathematical asymmetry leaves no middle ground: either every citizen has access to unbreakable locks, or no one will  (except for the Feds themselves, of course): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPBH1eW28mo
 There is one cogent comparison to the arguments of 2A advocates here: "if you outlaw crypto, only outlaws have crypto". In fact, it's even worse: hypothetically the feds can track gun-running, and guns are (currently) non-trivial to manufacture oneself. But all it takes is a small snippet of GitHub code and/or a white paper to craft an unbreakable lock, and disguise the data as noise, regardless what violence governments threaten. The only people affected by restrictions would be law-abiding citizens.
Making effective encryption that lets law makers access our data, isn't just "hard" in the traditional sense. I'm willing to bet it's impossible (At least with the kinds of technologies we'll have in my life time).
Yes the cops can get a warrant for our doors, why not our computers? Because cryptography isn't an efing wooden door. They are not the same. Get it.
It's not like all of silicone valley hates lawmakers (Although many do), it's that they're asking for unicorns and pixie dust.
For one, my home is in one physical place. A bad actor needs to at least get to me, to... you know, get to me. With my data, if it's open to be seen, it's open to people in China, Russia, and on the moon as well. It's not limited to my government.
Second: When the police are given a warrant to my house, I can be there, and I can observe that only actual police officers are entering my home. Data doesn't have any kind of global logging and auditing system like that. Any particular system may or may not log or audit access, but it's not a sure thing. Once it's accessible, once again, I have no way of knowing who actually accessed it.
Third: As WiseWeasel mentioned, I would argue that in the modern world, having access to my data isn't like having access to my home. It's like having access to my mind. My phone knows everything: My intimate conversations with my wife, where I go shopping, what I buy, what my political opinions are, every single photo I've taken in the last 10 years (Which in large part means: Knowing every single place I've been in the last 10 years), my financial transactions, and much more.
If the cops cannot get a search warrant to forcibly read my mind, I don't think it's reasonable they should be able to see my data either.
Fourth: It encroaches on the privacy of others. Generally speaking a warrant for my stuff, is because I am suspected of things. My neighbor isn't also searched because they happen to be near me. But plenty of the data in my life (Especially in the context of conversations) isn't just my data, it's the data of my conversation partner too. Who is now having their data investigated, without knowing it at all (And depending on where they are from, do the local cops in my own even have jurisdiction over the data of my friend in Europe?).
I could go on, but I think I've made my point: Data is not "a thing", it's an entirely different plane of existence. And we need lawmakers that understand that, and are ready to tackle the real challenges that it undoubtedly is, to write reasonable legislature about data.
What we currently have, is a bunch of people trying to fit this new square data peg, into their existing round hole legislature.
OK so this stems mostly of the fact that real warrants are bound by locality- if you get one warrant it’s physically impossible to just use it for everyone. Thus reducing the risk of wrongly given one of affecting everyone else on the planet.
The question is - is there a way to effectively replicate something like that with encryption / maths? I mean obviously not with public / private key encryption, but we do have more complex ones already in the form of cryptocurrencies. Maybe there’s a way to make reading a backdoor very expensive and public operation so everyone knew a backdoor was used, it would be expensive to employ (as in money and resources) and could only be used once per backdoor use?
I’m genuinely curios though I’d wager the answer would be that even if it could be made it would be too expensive and impractical...
It's dead simple to poison some website, insert a thumb drive, or just flat out lie and put it on a device after the fact and make any target an instant socially repugnant felon. The ROI on that is fantastic
In other words, even the claim itself is garbage.
This one feels kind of weird in that I'm not seeing the same level of uproar/pushback as I've seen in the past, which is a slightly frightening bit.
I'm willing to entertain the logic, sure, just not sure I agree with it. Feels like there's more at stake for them (collectively) here.
This is shaping up to be the end of a golden age of internationally-open communication.
It's about time the public started to take an interest in their own privacy. Even Snowden wasn't able to wake up the lobotomized masses.
Hopefully the techies will come up with more and better solutions to work around around brain-dead power grabs like this.
Incidentally, Matrix seems pretty damn good.
To me, it seems the requirements that:
1) you should be unable to access the data
2) you should monitor the data for certain content
seem hard mutually exclusive:
Even if you developed some magic AI technology that could detect child porn in an end-to-end encrypted connection, well congrats, you broke the encryption, but then it's not end-to-end encrypted anymore. (And you could likely use the same technology to detect other things)
The only way I can see how you could keep both promises in some sense would be to move the detection into the client scan for content before it's being encrypted.
This would require that you tightly control all clients any kind of tampering or use of alternative clients impossible. I'm not sure, that's a good vision for the future either. (It would also render the encryption mostly useless, because the vendor could simply instruct the client to extract whatever data they are interested in. I can get the same level of security with plain HTTPS and a vendor promising not to look at the data.)
If this is the alternative, maybe a controlled, traceable way to intercept connections would be the lesser evil.
So, what are the tech companies' takes on this?
But, would this leave a loophole for text-only and/or highly bandwidth-limited communications to remain end-to-end encrypted?
If you cannot sent a photo, audio or video, kind of hard to send CSAM material, yet end-to-end real-time SMS type messages are still somewhat useful in many instances (better than nothing).
Anyone with more detailed info?
What is your argument - that "think of the children" therefore ban all end-end encryption? If so, then any form of encryption should be absolutely banned. So should carrier pigeons, as they are very hard to intercept, and a leg band could carry a chip w/gigabytes of CSAM images.
My point is that in within a regime of highly restricted encryption (for the purposes of CSAM prevention), there should be space for a text-based conversational system that is very useful for text comms, but highly impractical for CSAM.
Limiting it to 30KB/day of transmission leaves plenty of room for useful conversational communication. That's ~45min of world-record typist speed on a full keyboard (17char/sec), or about 10 pages of single-spaced text -- a more than adequate secure conversations channel.
Yet transmitting a single 1MB image in Base64 encoding would take 45 days. One could literally be 2x faster by carrying it on a bicycle from Los Angeles to NYC.
The point is that this remains a pragmatically useful solution.
While it could technically be used to transmit images by parallelizing it, etc., the goal is to make it bad enough for those purposes that practically, other solutions are better.
By creating a really bad channel for images, many other solutions become pragmatically better (e.g., snail mail & encrypted USB drive, carrier pigeon, etc), even though it remains mathematically possible to use this.
The analogy is a common home front door lock set. They are good enough to prevent casual break-ins, but can cracked in minutes by a professional burglar. The lock does not need to be perfect, only good enough that it becomes pragmatically easier to break in by other routes (e.g., crack a window, etc.)
The question is, what is your solution? Ban this too because it is mathematically imperfect -- i.e., ban all encryption -- or what else?
With Huawei entering the 5G market, all ostensible law enforcement encryption backdoors now become de-facto Chinese communist party backdoors because of the pervasiveness of their equipment, and that nations interception capabilities.
The UK and Canada have approved Huawei to supply critical networks, and now end-to-end encryption on our personal devices is the only thing preventing interception by Beijing.
It also explains why the US president was so angry with Bojo over approving Huawei, because it means if the U.S. allows Huawei, it must also allow end to end encryption for citizens to protect themselves. The national security priority of mitigating that aggressive foreign interception capability for every business in the country should outweigh the special interest of law enforcement using victims groups as human shields.
If you're referring to 5G, Huawei has yet to be given a green light in Canada. Perhaps you're referring to some other infrastructure, however.
And the fact that both Telus and Bell use Huawei for their 4g/LTE networks?
How is this different from those backdoors being CIA/NSA backdoors, when that equipment was made by US vendors?
Nothing fundamentally changed. We should be building protocols that don't require us to trust the underlying network.
The only difference is who you hear breathing on the other end of your line
Short-term effects? Power back to surveillance / power grabbers. They don't care about CSAM, they care about money/power.
Long-term effects? Like dark web, Signal (or something similar) will be used mostly by criminals, so EARN IT will fail it's "honorable" goal 100%, while achieving its hidden goal (strip privacy from ordinary citizen).
Also this will accelerate Splinternet. The future looks bleak, welcome to it.
It seems strange for something like this to hinge on section 230 though, were emails providers liable for such things before it was passed ? What about cellular carriers for SMS content ?
Note that I don't support doing away with Section 230, but I find this train of thought interesting.