[Cryptography] October 28th is now National Cryptography Day

Jerry Leichter leichter at lrw.com
Sun Nov 13 01:12:52 EST 2016

> If Hilary had encrypted her email, she would almost certainly be president elect.
If Hilary had encrypted her email, she would have been faced with a court ordering her to decrypt it.  Yes, there could have been a whole battle over whether the 5th Amendment prevents the government from forcing you to disclose your password.  The law on this is currently completely unsettled.

But ... it would have made little *political* difference.  First of all, she actually turned over the relevant email, leaving out only what she claimed was "irrelevant" personal stuff.  I see no reason to believe she would not have decrypted this material if the demand was made.  And if she had refused, the political liabilities would have been enormous - way beyond any outcry about Trump not releasing his taxes.  The actual contents of the emails were, in fact, pretty mild as these things go.  Had she refused to decrypt them, people - certainly the Republicans, but even many who would otherwise sympathize with her - would have assumed there must be something in there to hide.

Cryptography isn't a magic bullet solving every social or political problem.  Hilary was at least partially defeated by a history of keeping things hidden and quiet - which ended up leading to much more trouble when they finally came out than they likely would have had she been more up-front to begin with.  This made her look untrustworthy:  No matter how many investigations might clear her of any wrong-doing, each likely revealed *something* new - leading to the suspicion that there was yet more to be found.  This is perception vs. reality, and a *perception* of dishonesty can only get worse if material is hidden - by cryptography or otherwise.

Cryptography is a tool, and like any tool, it has to be used wisely and appropriately.
                                                        -- Jerry

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