[Cryptography] Cryptography is not a science currently

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Sat Dec 5 23:49:05 EST 2015

On Sat, Dec 5, 2015 at 6:13 PM, Ryan Carboni <ryacko at gmail.com> wrote:

> Recently The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work was published online by
> Philip Rogaway.
> Each and every cryptographer seems to fail to understand what the US
> intelligence community actually does. They truly do, they do not seem to
> understand that for anyone of import, they'd develop biographies on people,
> if one is important enough, they might create a psychological profile.

They certainly do it for the Russian and Chinese cyber researchers. It
would make sense to do it for domestic folk who are so much easier to
collect information on.

> Maybe this sounds paranoid. But given that the greatest intelligence
> scandals involve what is believed to be true to be absolutely false and
> what is believed to be false to be absolutely true, paranoia is to be
> expected if the state takes an interest in your profession.

There is a long history of corruption in the US. And the FBI and NSA were
certainly not immune. The abuse of the FBI to pursue Hoover's racist
political agenda, LOVEINT, etc.

There is also a long history of hiding behind the flag. If the military is
doing it, then anyone who complains about it is disloyal to the country.

> And all cryptographers know that the state is interested in cryptography.
> What about the constant struggles of cryptographers getting their papers
> published in the seventies and eighties? Maybe only Dan Bernstein remembers
> that he went to court just to publish his own cipher.

Phil knows all about that. I don't think he was downplaying them. What he
was doing and what needs to be done right now is to point out that we are
not the ones re-fighting the cryptowars of the 1990s.

What we discovered in the Snowden docs is that the NSA eased off on the
cryptowars because they thought that the increase in information being
transmitted would greatly outweigh the loss due to crypto.

What the NSA/FBI don't seem to realize is that when they made the pragmatic
choice to give up the attempt to impose Clipper, they had conceded the
moral victory. So when the Snowden papers came out 20 years later they
suddenly realized that the technology had moved on and it would be very
easy to send much of Fort Meade dark. I assume Google now encrypts
everything everywhere inside the corporation.

Truly Rogaway is the Chomsky of Cryptography. Chomsky will deny the
> Cambodian holocaust and claim that oppression in the US "isn't that bad".

Chomsky was maliciously misquoted.

What he actually said was that there was more evidence for the genocide
taking place in East Timor, a genocide the US denied the existence of
because it was being perpetrated by an ally than for the Cambodian genocide
which everyone, Chomsky included accepted as a fact.

The East Timor massacre is now acknowledged as a historical fact. But only
after the establishment accepted there was no further need to prop up

I don't think that there are many cryptographers that fail to understand
their work has political dimension just as there are very few people
involved in the Web or IETF that are not aware of the political dimension.

But there are degrees. Tim wanted to build a collaboration tool. I wanted
to disintermediate the establishment media and unleash chaos. Having been
born into the British establishment and knowing that so much of what the
public was told was utter lies, I wanted to introduce a feedback mechanism.
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