Australia's Prime Minister is a goddamned idiot


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/15/malcolm-turnbull-is-an-idiot.html


#2

Well he is less of an idiot than Tony Abbot and I suspect the push for this has come from the US and the UK. Obviously anybody can write code to encrypt and decrypt in excel and protect their communications. Major cloud services will presumably install back doors, as will OS vendors (including ubuntu?). People who want working crypto will still have to roll their own to some extent. Its always been that way.

I would be interested to see what happens if governments try to back door gpg.


#3

I’m looking at the posts so far, taking a step back, and noting that we’ve entered a time when different parties are clear and adamant about their leader being the biggest idiot. I have to concede that I’m involved in these times, so… I see your Turnball/ Abbot, and raise you one Trump. How do you like them apples!


#4

You can’t just export responsibility for this stupidity elsewhere. Although I do somewhat blame Trump for demonstrating to the world the depths to which politicians may stoop with impunity when it comes to outrageously lying to the populace.

No: open source software, and hence distributions of this software (since packaging is done in the open, and source packages are available); open protocols; and mathematics simply cannot be policed in this way, which is what makes this whole thing particularly stupid - it can never succeed in stopping people from using encrypted communications, because all this stuff is already freely and widely available.

This is one part political theatre and one part power grab - the government has advisors, the intelligence community employs people who understand this stuff, so it’s inconceivable that the politicians aren’t entirely aware of the impracticality of requesting access to encrypted communications (they claim, without back-doors).


#5

I think you are reading him way too literally. I think he’s saying that granting law enforcement access to encrypted communications is a matter of policy, not mathematics.

You know how law enforcement can get a court order to install a wiretap on landlines when investigating crime? The analogous move would be a court order to Apple to include a key owned by law enforcement when encrypting some user’s messages or to capture the text before encryption.


#6

I wish that were more true. We are still cleaning up the mess that the 1990’s limits on key length for software left behind, including in open source software. Remember when encryption was classified as a munition?


#7

And he’s only just getting warmed up.Greater depths yet to be plumbed.


#8

Android is open source, but devices which run android have DRM. The sources for debian, ubuntu, etc are open, but who audits their code to ensure that back doors don’t exist? Is it even feasible to catch a subtle weakness or exploit?


#9

Except that he’s also claimed that they don’t want companies to install back-doors, and the only alternative is to break the laws of mathematics, which is what he’s been told. He’s clearly trying to rebut that fact here, but it’s still an outrageous statement.

Except that the horse has already bolted. The only way you could legislate against it would be to declare cryptography illegal, but that’s not going to stop any of the people they claim to be targeting.

The Android argument is a straw man, since only parts of it are open source, and of course it’s possible to include broken software somewhere in the stack, but users don’t have to take it. Introducing a back-door of the sort required here as a patch to existing code would absolutely be noticed.


#10

We need a playbook for dealing with stupid leaders.

This PM needs to take an Algebra course.


#11

Not sure that I agree. Crypto code tends to be complex with deep nested expressions. Somebody could commit a change which they claim fixes a bug, or improves performance, which actually introduces a vulnerability which they know how to exploit.


#12

I’ve been puzzling about this for two days now, and I cannot for the life of me understand what he thinks he is saying, by giving his approbation to the laws of mathematics, as being “commendable”.

Commendable, as opposed to the deplorable laws of thermodynamics? The outstanding laws of aerodynamics? The regrettable laws of Murphy?


#13

Except that he’s also claimed that they don’t want companies to install back-doors, and the only alternative is to break the laws of mathematics

When a cryptographer talks about a back door, that means something a little bit different than when the general public talks about it. For example, the NSA weakened the Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator. That’s a backdoor. That’s not breaking the laws of mathematics. Instead it’s using them to weaken encryption. Ordering messaging companies to add another key into the list of keys that can decrypt a message isn’t a backdoor cryptographically speaking (IMHO). If anything, it’s an additional front door.

The only way you could legislate against it would be to declare cryptography illegal, but that’s not going to stop any of the people they claim to be targeting.

Nobody is claiming it will be perfect, but from law enforcement’s point of view, some capabilities are better than no capabilities.


#14

You’re going to have to be more specific, Cory.

Oh, the crypto. Yes, what’s worse is that he knows that it’s not doable - guy used to be CEO of an ISP, for fuck’s sake.

For those not aware, he’s in the same position that Theresa May is in - an unpopular leader within his own party who went to a (double dissolution) election to try to consolidate his position and got the shit kicked out of him, retaining power by a single seat. He’s a centre-right kind-of moderate for what’s turned into an almost-far-right party, and the extreme right within it have him by the balls. Expect to hear a lot more of this illogical crap to try & get some good ol’ fear mongering going (“ban trade unions! I hear ISIS like them!”) before the next election.


#15

Yes! Thank you, an important point. Turnbull is not unintelligent but he is a POLITICIAN.


#16

Turnbull’s entire political career has been a gradual capitulation to destructive stupidity.

He went into politics as a pro-LGBT pro-environment technocrat, and has spent his time since then blocking progress on gay rights, reversing progress on climate and sabotaging the national IT infrastructure. All in order to appease the extremist loonies of the Liberal right.


#17

Turnbull:


#18

Politics transcends intelligence.


#19

Yes, we know.


#20

I’d say that the prime minister is welcome to hire his own mathematicians, but I fear it’d come around to bite me in the ass. I don’t have enough hubris to think any law- physical or legal(?)- is immutable.