Snowden to journalists: your best defense is legal limits on spying, not crypto

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But legal limits aren’t worth a hill of beans if they’re not enforced.


He’s not saying we don’t need all need strong crypto, just that if you are individually targeted, especially by a government that doesn’t abide by due process protections, thats not enough.


Sounds a bit defeatest to me. Why can’t a person prevail by technical means over the NSA or other bad actors? It sounds a lot like arguments I encounter on the net against security saying that “ultimately it doesn’t matter what you do, because they’ll win”. I ask these people whether or not they make the small effort to lock their house or car, despite knowing than somebody who is determined may still compromise their security. This always gets a response of “obviously”, with the implication that network security is somehow different in this respect.

Better I think to pursue both technical and legal approaches simultaneously.

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Ironically it was Snowden’s own escape in which the American Government showed its complete lack of respect for international law when they caused the Bolivian President’s plane to be grounded. Stated limits on spying would almost certainly be ignored.


His comments and rules are exactly the difference between Assange and Snowden and it’s a huge thing.


Or more likely, give that itchy trigger-finger Putin is not in charge:

“His laptop is encrypted. Let’s dog (surveil) the arrogant, pasty SOB until he finally screws up late one night, and we will have him forever going forwards. We can wait c. 5-7 years to kill him – by then the public will have forgotten about him. Then we can do something biological, or car-accidental, so that no one can ever be sure his death was not truly random. By then, no one in the newsmedia will give a shit, and his basement-dwelling fan club on the Intertubez will have no impact.”

Seriously. i.e. Does any trendy public intellectual still discuss the post-911 anthrax attacks? Out loud? In a public venue? Obvious own-goals apparently matter little in our world.

All one needs to do is wait for the Zeitgeist to shift. Of course it hasn’t yet. The biggest problem facing a prudential security state effort to re-make history is the insane hubris of our public-facing “leadership”. America is plum full of dumb shits like me who can be fooled some of the time, but not all of the time, and our navel-gazing amnesia is less than fully secured at present.

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