John Young on Sun, 15 Dec 2013 17:57:07 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> VIDEO: Snowden, the NSA, and Fre e Software ? Bruce Schneier and Eben Moglen

A perdurable characteristic of cryptography and cryptographers is
duplicity often discussed and debated in the field, cheated and lied
about, preened and ridiculed.

Crypto's essential role in projecting and protecting power requires
duplicity to serve officials and counter-officials, know thy enemy, as
Machiavelli and others have observed.

Reputation building of cryptosystems and cryptographers proceeds
duplicitously. Crypto technology, broadly communications security, is
defined as a dual-use munition for that reason.

Schneier is well-known as the chief of security for BT, a prime
cooperator with GCHQ and thereby NSA. He has not publicly answered
questions about what he knew beforehand of the operations revealed by

Nor have other of the world's leading cryptographers, inside and
outside of governments -- which remain by far the source of funds for
cryptography, next closest is the financial industry.

Duplicity is a delicate topic in the field, for livelihoods depend
upon complicity to limit criticism of dual-use research, scholarship,
publication, teaching, contracts, lectures, conferences, testimonies.

Open source cryptography has been criticized for duplicity, and
official spies admit to exploiting the openness there as elsewhere in
non-secret enterprises.

If Snowden successfully induces public debate on official, commercial,
academic and personal duplicity, that is likely to be itself
duplicitious if past debates are a guide.

This debate is well underway in that direction, lead by the best and
brightest cryptographers, who are fiercely debating and challenging
one another in less known fora.

Celebrities like Schneier are at high risk of exposure by Snowden's
files. Fox in the henhouse may be applicable, for it is a
well-established spy means and methods.

For now, judgment may be suspended on the other celebrated defenders
-- individuals, scholars, NGOs -- of freedom of information duplicity.

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