VoIP encryption in a surveillance society

img Stanford crest  Those of you that have time to get over to the Stanford campus this Wednesday afternoon (March 7th) should do and listen to Phil Zimmerman’s talk on VoIP encryption in a surveillance society.

For all of you who can’t make it, Stanford will put a video online at their Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) site.

Phil is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols.

…Phil will talk about how the debate on the use of crypto has shifted since the 1990s, when it was a a clash between civil liberties and law enforcement. Today it is an essential part of protecting our economies from bad guys. Soon, new seismic realignment of government attitudes about encryption may appear. Historically, law enforcement has benefited from a strong asymmetry in the feasibility of government or criminals wiretapping old fashioned telephone calls. As we migrate to VoIP, that asymmetry collapses. Without VoIP encryption, organized crime will be able to wiretap prosecutors and judges, leading law enforcement to see VoIP encryption in a different light. In the 1990s, the crypto debate was about averting omniscience in governments, but today the encrypted VoIP debate may be about averting omniscience in criminals…

via: O’Reilly Radar

Note by the author of this post:

I will unfortunately not make it to the talk, but would otherwise ask Phil what he knows about the change in the so called IT security industry in particular that most key inventions to secure Operating Systems have “changed hands” since the 1990s and are now controlled by “certain” power groups / countries. Having worked in that field myself and invented some of the core building blocks this is the most alarming of it all. When you don’t have a secure computing base anymore then any kind of protocol or solution you would build higher up on the “stack” is per definition insecure as well.

As this does not only affect private persons or companies but also governments as recent discussions in some European countries have shown, I wonder when finally someone from these countries will react, stop that nonsense and repairs the damages created (in many cases by their own personnel).

Nevertheless – and this might be more important – time and inventors always have new ideas. Let’s just invent something new and hold the huns at bay….

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