[Cryptography] Questions about crypto that lay people want to understand

Bill Frantz frantz at pwpconsult.com
Fri Dec 25 16:56:59 EST 2015

On 12/25/15 at 8:45 AM, iang at iang.org (ianG) wrote:

>Does that effect ordinary citizens?  Typically not.  The reason 
>this is so appears to be pure economics:  a spying operation is 
>typically very costly, so a government focuses very drastically 
>on the biggest threats - other governments.
>Now however spying can not only be done at automated cost, it 
>can be done at mass, across vast numbers of people at the same 
>time.  The economic barrier to mass surveillance is removed.

The next step is when the mass surveillance data is interpreted 
by AIs so we can get universal surveillance. Just what is NSA 
running in those big computer centers?

>As spying goes from economically rare to mass surveillance, the 
>question arises as to whether citizens should care.  A lot of 
>literature says yes.  A more directed answer would be, is ones 
>government benign and just, or is it liable to do dirty 
>things?  Each citizen would need to answer that for herself or 
>himself.  But if the answer is the latter, government with no 
>limits, then crypto may provide some protection.

However, when assessing a government, we should keep the example 
of Germany in mind. In the 1920s, the German government was a 
reasonable democracy. In 1933, they freely elected the Nazis who 
quickly changed it to a monster. Germans to this day remember 
this history and have strong privacy protections in place to try 
to prevent the rounding up of "enemies of the state" using 
public databases as happened when the Nazis took over.

Cheers - Bill

Bill Frantz        | Security is like Government  | Periwinkle
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