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Anonymous Networks & Communications / Civil Liberties in the Digital World

Anonymous Networks & Communications

Sunday 22 May 2016

Network Security - Isis Agora Lovecruft - Core Developer The Tor Project.

  • Why should you care about privacy? Raboud University, The Netherlands - 21 March 2016.

Privacy is necessary for all other rights. Even if you don’t care about your own right to privacy . . .

  • . . . it’s incredibly antisocial to claim that the right to privacy as a whole should be relinquished, that others should also be expected to have nothing to hide.
  • . . . it’s saying, “I don’t care about your right to privacy; I don’t care about your rights to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. I don’t care about anyone different to me.”

“Privacy is the right from which all others are derived. Privacy is the fountainhead of individuality. Without privacy, there is only the collective, there is only society, there is only influence from groups, from large powers, that shape every person to bring them into that fold and to make them all alike.”
—Ed Snowden, CIJ Logan Symposium, 12 March 2016

Okay, but! if everything were encrypted . . . Imagine a world in which . . .

  • . . . all Internet traffic is encrypted and authenticated,
  • . . . emails are all signed and encrypted end-to-end,
  • . . . everybody is using ciphersuites that offer high security,
  • . . . crypto implementations are correct, secure, side-channel resistant, formally verified, and expose impossible-to-misuse APIs to applications developers,
  • . . . applied cryptographers have trouble finding jobs.

They still get the “metadata”.

  • data necessary to trace and identify both the source and destination of a communication.
  • data necessary to identify the date, time and duration of a communication.
  • data necessary to identify the type of communication.
  • data necessary to identify users’ communication equipment or what purports to be their equipment.
  • data necessary to identify the location of mobile communication equipment.

Encrypting and authenticating content doesn’t prevent any of this!

“Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content. . . [It’s] sort of embarrassing how predictable we are as human beings.”
—Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the NSA

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