Privacy / Featured Blogs

Writing the Next Chapter for the Historic One-Time Pad

The OTP, or One-Time Pad, also known as the Vernam cipher, is, according to the NSA, "perhaps one of the most important in the history of cryptography." If executed correctly, it provides uncrackable encryption. It has an interesting and storied history, dating back to the 1880s, when Frank Miller, a Yale graduate, invented the idea of the OTP. Communication was expensive and difficult in the age of telegrams, and few messages were easily encrypted. more»

The Importance of IPRC in Asia Pacific

I believe and strongly support Internet Principle and Right Coalition (IPRC) Charter is an important edition of document supplementing the principles and rights of individual internet users in any developing and least developed country. Especially in Asia Pacific region where the need and use of such document is immense, as there is a gap in recognition and awareness of rights of internet users. more»

DNS and Stolen Credit Card Numbers

FireEye announced a new piece of malware yesterday named MULTIGRAIN. This nasty piece of code steals data from Point of Sale (PoS) and transmits the stolen credit card numbers by embedding them into recursive DNS queries. While this was definitely a great catch by the FireEye team, the thing that bothers me here is how DNS is being used in these supposedly restrictive environments. more»

Is the FCC Inviting the World's Cyber Criminals into America's Living Rooms?

In October 2012, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee issued a joint statement warning American companies that were doing business with the large Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE to "use another vendor." The bipartisan statement explains that the Intelligence Committee's Report, "highlights the interconnectivity of U.S. critical infrastructure systems and warns of the heightened threat of cyber espionage and predatory disruption or destruction of U.S. networks if telecommunications networks are built by companies with known ties to the Chinese state, a country known to aggressively steal valuable trade secrets and other sensitive data from American companies." more»

Problems With the Burr-Feinstein Bill

What appears to be a leaked copy of the Burr-Feinstein on encryption back doors. Crypto issues aside -- I and my co-authors have written on those before -- this bill has many other disturbing features. (Note: I've heard a rumor that this is an old version. If so, I'll update this post as necessary when something is actually introduced.) One of the more amazing oddities is that the bill's definition of "communications" (page 6, line 10) includes "oral communication", as defined in 18 USC 2510. more»

Government-Industry Collaboration Is Better than Developing a Surveillance State

President Obama, in March 2016, again stressed the need for better collaboration between the tech industry and the government. He referred to his own White House initiative - this has resulted in the newly-formed US Digital Service, which is trying to recruit the tech industry to work with and for government. One of the key reasons it is so difficult to establish trustworthy, good working relationships is the extreme lack of tech understanding among most politicians and government bureaucrats. more»

Enough About Apple and Encryption: Let's Talk System Security

This week, the RightsCon Silicon Valley 2016 conference is taking place in San Francisco. Since the use of encryption in general and the Apple/FBI case in particular are likely to be debated, I want to share a perspective on system security. My phone as a system The Apple/FBI case resolves around a phone. Think of your own phone now. When I look at my own phone I have rather sensitive information on it. more»

The FBI and the iPhone: Important Unanswered Questions

As you probably know, the FBI has gotten into Syed Farook's iPhone. Many people have asked the obvious questions: how did the FBI do it, will they tell Apple, did they find anything useful, etc.? I think there are deeper questions that really get to the full import of the break. How expensive is the attack? Security - and by extension, insecurity - are not absolutes. Rather, they're only meaningful concepts if they include some notion of the cost of an attack. more»

The Second Machine Age Calls for Vision and Leadership

This post I've been pondering on for a long time, but never found the right angle and perhaps I still haven't. Basically I have these observations, thoughts, ideas and a truckload of questions. Where to start? With the future prospects of us all. Thomas Picketty showed us the rise of inequality. He was recently joined by Robert J. Gordon who not only joins Picketty, but adds that we live in a period of stagnation, for decades already. "All great inventions lie over 40 years and more behind us", he points out. more»

Reflections on Joe Cannataci's First Report

Joseph Cannataci recently submitted his first report as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy - a brand new position, created in July 2015 in the wake of the German-Brazilian initiative for a UN resolution on privacy in the digital age. The report includes a description of Cannataci's working methods, a general overview of privacy-relevant topics, and a 'Ten point action plan' - described as a to-do list for the post holder, rather than a mere wish list. more»