[Cryptography] Ad hoc "exceptional access" discussion at Crypto'15 ?

Ray Dillinger bear at sonic.net
Tue Jul 14 12:59:08 EDT 2015

On 07/13/2015 06:14 PM, Henry Baker wrote:
> FYI -- This is the sort of thing that needs to be discussed:
> By Stewart Baker July 12

>     “We take no issue here with law enforcement’s desire to execute lawful surveillance orders when they meet the requirements of human rights and the rule of law,” said a group of private sector encryption experts, “Our strong recommendation is that anyone proposing regulations should first present concrete technical requirements, which industry, academics, and the public can analyze for technical weaknesses and for hidden costs.”

Excuse me, but that's a load of crap.

I have no issue with law enforcement's desire to execute search
warrants - you know, the kind where they have to go to court and
get an actual judge to sign off on a warrant to search for a
very specific thing in a very specific place, and that warrant
then becomes public record. With a warrant they have, in addition
to the general access allowed to the public, the right to enter
premises and seize property, or compel the cooperation of the
person whose stuff they're pawing through before actually
pawing through it (or face arrest), or violate what would
otherwise be laws applicable to the general public, such as
laws against trespass or burglary or violation of electronic
security measures, in order to execute that warrant.

A search warrant is not a surveillance order.  Surveillance
means COVERTLY observing someone, and what our constitution
(though in many cases unconstitutional laws exist) allows for
COVERT observation on people is that law enforcement gets
exactly the same access to someone that members of the general
public have.  When you do surveillance, you don't get the keys
to someone's house.  Meaning you don't get cryptographic keys
handed to you either.  Also, if there are laws against cracking
security, you do not get to violate those laws unless you have
a real warrant - if you repeal such laws so it's the same
access the general public has then, if you can hack it you
can have it.  But the police are not (constitutionally)
permitted to break the law for purposes of covert surveillance.
And while surveillance may be done secretly, serving a warrant
must (constitutionally) create a public record for accountability.

I really hate unconstitutional laws.  How long until they are
struck down?


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