Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

>These criticisms of technological solutions always miss the obvious: both approaches complement each other.

In a small way, yes, but in the long run, politics trumps technology.

You could achieve privacy from the government if you solved the political issues.

But the reverse is not true: if you had the perfect technological solution, they could make using the solution illegal -- including doing away with plausible deniability, even if the technological scheme provides it.

Or, if the government goes totally south, they could fuck you in other ways, making the technological solution totally irrelevant. E.g they could put you in a concentration camp. Where's your tech now?

>Beating people with wrenches is a far more extreme action, it is easier to trust governments not to do something that is more extreme.

Only if you leave in a western democracy (and are not a dissident, activist, or of any concern to the law).

In any other country , trusting the government not to do the extreme is not really that obvious. Heck, even in Western Europe, there have been 3 active millitary dictatorships during the last 40 years (and this is not even counting Eastern European countries, stasi and such).

You really seem to be keen on not getting it.

What you are saying essentially boils down to "Don't waste your time with PGP because they could just stick you in a concentration camp." Being stuck in a concentration camp is a problem that needs a political solution (or in that particular extreme case, a violent solution...), so strive for one. Nobody is suggesting that everyone abstain from finding political solutions to political problems.

All the problems you seem to have with technical solutions are things that can be solved with political solutions. If you are advocating the possibility and pursuit of political solutions, as you seem to be doing, then why do you think the problems with technical solutions insurmountable?

Here is my proposal: Everybody use cryptography everywhere, to the full extent that we can manage. We then find political solutions to the political or physical threats to cryptography. If they try to ban cryptography, we fight back politically. If they start beating people with wrenches, we fight back politically. If they try to throw us in camps, we fight back politically (...and violently...).

There is absolutely no reason not to adopt technological solutions where they exist.

I agree being in a truly lawless or evil state, even with high quality privacy technology, means you can't live a normal life. I'm pretty sure well before the "get in the trucks to go to the concentration camps" stage, it would be time to demonstrate that cryptographic munitions are not the only kind of munitions. There have been some promising efforts by EFF, etc. to bring the rabid pro-gun crowd into this in various court filings; people who will change states, vote single issue, etc. over being allowed to own a .50bmg rifle (when they could otherwise have a .510dtc anyway) are exactly the kind of people who will go to the mattresses over crypto. I think they also brought in pro-abortion people who vote similarly single-issue.

The US is far from that stage right now. NSA is developing absurdly overpowered capabilities, but is actually using them in a relatively constrained way, at least so far -- they are not being used for even high level criminal cases or really anything except actual terrorism. The problem is exactly the same technology could be used with a change of administration for political repression, domestic criminal enforcement, or whatever.

Since terrorism is maybe 1k people with any connection to the US per year, it's pretty easy to justify deploying privacy enhancing technologies to the remaining 300 million people, and there wouldn't be a politically feasible way to stop it. The battleground would be any extension of CALEA to pure-Internet companies, or worse, to end user technologies. Unless that happens, there's not much to fear in deploying technology overall, although in certain verticals (finance, with various FinCEN/AML requirements), additional regulations apply.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact