Letterlocking: the long-lost art of using paper-folding to foil snoops

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/15/security-thru-topology.html


This looks like just the thing to kick off the next moral panic as teens adopt letterlocking as an analog technique for exchanging sexy messages.

Prepare to clutch thy pearls!


It’s also a term Jana Dambrogio claims to own a trademark on at their website: “Letterlock™ — Jana Dambrogio” http://www.janadambrogio.com/letterlock .

I find the various historical methods meant to create tamper evident seals fascinating and I love the research that has exposed a trove of previously un-documented methods. But I’m pretty disappointed that a researcher is trying to control IP around the research through trademarking a term for the field. (There doesn’t seem to be a US registration for the claim, though. And there is already a trademarked “LETTERLOCK SHIPPING · RECEIVING SINCE 1982”.)


There’s a new drug, too. They’re calling it “sealing wax.”


FBI Director Christopher Wray today echoed a call that law enforcement has been making for years: officials need a way to bypass letterlocking to preserve national security.

The argument made by law enforcement against the widespread use of letterlocking is sometimes called “going flat.”

“Just as paper folding has become a force multiplier for the good guys, it has become a force multiplier for the bad guys,” said Wray.

“I get a little frustrated when people say that we’re trying to weaken letterlocking,” Wray said. He insisted that the agency is not trying to unfold your letters and that he and the FBI believe in strong letterlocking, “but we’re also duty bound to protect the American people.”


“… the long-lost art of using paper-folding to foil…” Well, you are 1 for 2 on your arbitrary use of hyphens.

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As someone who enjoys some origami, color me interested.


Ceiling wax gets you high?


No, but it can help you wax poetic… :thinking:


Only if, like, you are waxing the ceiling, dude… :eyes:

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

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