[Cryptography] October 28th is now National Cryptography Day

John Denker jsd at av8n.com
Tue Nov 15 14:24:23 EST 2016

On 11/15/2016 07:38 AM, Joseph Kilcullen wrote:
> Cryptography is the mathematician’s equivalent of Gun Ownership

Not quite "equivalent" : Crypto devices contribute verrry much less
to the likelihood that a member of the owner's family will be killed.

As for the Zimmermann telegram, on 11/14/2016 05:52 PM, ianG wrote:

>> Does anyone have any contact with IACR?  11 January 1917 offers an
>> enticing date coming up...  It might also be something the other
>> side can get behind.

IMHO choosing that date is a step in the wrong direction.  It's a
tactic in support of a misguided strategy.

The point of National Cryptography Day is to get the public involved,
as a way to exert political pressure in «some» direction.  We need
to carefully choose the direction.

The public already labors under the misconception that bad guys make
codes and good guys break codes.  That misconception is reinforced
by movies about Turing, Enigma, U-571, Midway, Zimmermann, et cetera.
That is an extreme, unbalanced view.  I am *NOT* arguing for the
opposite extreme, since (as usual) all the extremes are wrong.  I 
am arguing for some semblance of balance.

Balance is difficult to achieve, because code-making in particular
and security in general tend to be slow, methodical, and quiet.
Code-breaking tends to produce much better screenplays.

I renew my suggestion to celebrate crypto on Cyber Monday.  E-commerce
is a 350 billion dollar industry (per annum).  Without crypto, there
would be no e-commerce.  Unlike Hollywood crypto:
 -- E-commerce is not restricted to armies, diplomats, or spies.
 -- You don't need to be a weirdo to appreciate it.
 -- The good guys encrypt stuff and the bad guys try to break it.
 -- The argument that if you have nothing to hide you don't need
  crypto is well refuted.


Last but not least:  The October 28th date was suggested as a means
to influence US elections.  That's a Bad Idea for multiple reasons.
It's way too late in the season.  A great many votes are already
cast by then, and more importantly, minds have been made up.  People
need time to process ideas.  (Last-minute Comey-style interventions
only work if they fit into a pre-established framework, and even
then the effect is limited.)

Also:  A US election costs a few billion dollars every four years.
/More/ than that is spent on lobbying.  That's scandalous, but
it's a fact.  It should tell you that even though elections have
consequences, you also need to pay attention to what bureaucrats,
legislators, and lobbyists are doing /between/ elections.  Campaign
in poetry, govern in prose.  Crypto policy is so geeky and non-poetic
that it will never be much of a campaign issue, no matter how much
you might try to make it so.  It's the sort of thing that gets
hammered out /between/ elections.

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