Tag Archive | "Government"

Government Officials Urge Facebook to Create Encryption Backdoor

In most cases, two plus two equals four. It’s simple math. The same is true of encryption. Devices and services are either protected by strong encryption or they’re not. There is no in-between.

In spite of that, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, joined U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in an open letter urging Facebook to essentially create a backdoor in their end-to-end encryption.

On the one hand, the government officials offer lip service to the need for strong encryption:

“We support strong encryption, which is used by billions of people every day for services such as banking, commerce, and communications. We also respect promises made by technology companies to protect users’ data. Law abiding citizens have a legitimate expectation that their privacy will be protected.”

However, those statements are undermined by what follows:

“Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.”

Unfortunately these statements, and others like them, demonstrate a dangerous lack of understanding about how encryption works or, for that matter, how basic math—the foundation of all encryption—works. Experts the world over have warned about the catastrophic dangers of creating backdoors in encryption here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here and here (PDF).

The last one was an open letter to the White House by civil organizations, companies, trade associations and a myriad of security and policy experts. These are individuals from such varied backgrounds that they rarely agree on anything. Yet the one thing they all agree on is that there is simply no way to create backdoors in encryption without fundamentally weakening said encryption. It simply can’t be done. There is no way to create a backdoor for the “good guys” to get into the phones, computers and tablets of the “bad guys” without the “bad guys” using those same backdoors to get into the devices of the “good guys.”

At this point in the debate, people who want backdoors usually fall back to complaining about how strong encryption is making it possible for bad actors to “go dark,” using encryption to protect their activities from prying eyes. Therefore, the argument goes, the tech companies should be forced to make a backdoor in the interest of the greater good.

By that logic, however, safe makers should be required to create a backdoor to every safe they manufacture in the event that whoever purchases it tries using it for nefarious purposes. Similarly, paper shredder makers should be forced to make shredders that can take the strips of shredded paper and recombine them into their original form. Otherwise, someone might use a shredder to destroy documents to cover illegal activity.

What’s interesting about both of those examples is that, even without the manufacturers’ assistance, it’s possible to crack into a safe, as well as sort through strips of shredded paper and reconstruct documents. Is it a pleasant experience? No—but it’s possible.

Similarly, even without backdoors in encryption, with enough computing power it is possible to break encryption or find ways to circumvent it. In the wake of the San Bernardino case, after the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock the perpetrator’s iPhone, the FBI was able to find a company that succeeded in unlocking the phone. Was it pleasant? No—but it was possible.

Sometimes convenience for a few—in this case law enforcement—must take a back seat to the safety of the many. In other words, two plus two must equal four, unless a person doesn’t believe in basic math principles. Then two plus two equals five, or 13, or 127,309 or…

The post Government Officials Urge Facebook to Create Encryption Backdoor appeared first on WebProNews.


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The Merrymaker Sisters: How Two Aussie Girls Quit Government Jobs, Launched A Healthy Food Business On Instagram And Today Lead The Merrymaker Business Empire

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I’d like to introduce you to two sisters who very much embody the emotion their company brand presents – #GetMerry! The Merrymaker sisters – Emma and Carla Papas – are originally from Canberra, but today live on…

The post The Merrymaker Sisters: How Two Aussie Girls Quit Government Jobs, Launched A Healthy Food Business On Instagram And Today Lead The Merrymaker Business Empire appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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What the Government Shut Down Means for Internet Marketers

Sorry, but the US Government is closed until further notice. Sounds weird but it’s true. As of this morning, all non-essential government workers are out of work for who knows how long.

Museums, national parks, The Food and Drug Administration will stop doing routine safety inspections and even some websites will stop functioning.

govern shutdown

Government agencies who have social media accounts will also stop posting and replying.

nasa social mediaHow does this all effect internet marketers? Let’s look at the possibilities:

The biggest issue is the impact on the economy. I’m not big on actual numbers. I prefer to look at the human side. Government workers have no idea when they’ll be paid again or if they’ll be paid for time lost. That means they’re going to stop spending on anything that isn’t essential. If those are your customers, you’re going to see a decrease in sales.

If your business relies on tourism to any of our nation’s fine parks, landmarks or museums, you’re going to take a hit. The barricades are up so there’s no reason to book a trip to Yosemite on a travel site or even buy the camping gear from an online retailer.  Anyone with a mom and pop operation like a local restaurant or bed and breakfast. . . yikes.

On the business side, be aware that the IRS is going to suspend most of their services. They are still collecting taxes but if you have a problem, you won’t be able to get anyone to help you. (Not that it was easy before the shut-down.) Small business loans from the government are also on hold.

Planning to leave the country on business? If you don’t have a passport already, getting one could be a problem.

For many agencies, the work will keep piling up, so if it’s a long closure, workers will be overwhelmed when they get back which means further delays on any government paperwork.

If you had anything riding on Twitter’s IPO, that’s on hold, too.


The good news is that the mail will still arrive daily and police, military and fire personal will still be on the job keeping us safe. For more on what’s closed and what’s not, visit USA.gov.

Here’s hoping that the folks in Washington can get this resolved very soon.


Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

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For What It’s Worth, The House Thinks The Government Shouldn’t Control The Internet

Does the government want to regulate the Internet? It really depends on who you ask. Internet freedom fighters say legislation like SOPA and CISPA are thinly veiled attempts to regulate the Internet. The government, however, claims that it’s strictly taking a hands-off approach.

The House reaffirmed its hands-off approach in legislation it passed yesterday evening. The bill, H.R. 1580, is titled “To affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance.” If you couldn’t tell from the title, it’s simply a resolution saying that the United States will continue supporting the multi-stakeholder approach in regards to Internet development.

It’s encouraging then that the bill was passed unanimously. Of course, no congressman would be caught dead voting against the bill as it would suggest that they were in favor of some rather unpopular suggestions made during a U.N. meeting on Internet governance late last year.

The bill’s sponsor, Greg Walden, praised the multi-stakeholder approach to the Internet on the House floor last night, and confirmed that the bill is meant to send a message to other governments:

“Government’s hands-off approach has enabled the Internet’s rapid growth and made it a powerful engine of social and economic freedom. This bipartisan bill is designed to combat recent efforts by some in the international community to regulate the Internet, which can jeopardize not only its vibrancy, but also the benefits that it brings to the entire world.”

Now, this is a good thing. It’s nice to see that at least the House is all for an Internet free from government control, but it’s unfortunate that the House sees a difference between control and intervention. SOPA, PIPA and CISPA wouldn’t hand over control of the Internet to the government, but it would give the government untold powers to intervene.

It’s much the same argument that countries like Saudi Arabia and China made during the ITU conference last year. They weren’t arguing that the Internet be placed entirely under their control. Instead, they argued that they should be given power over their corner of the Internet to intervene when things got out of control. Granted, CISPA and SOPA were never advocating something like the Great Firewall of China, but they could spiral into something similar if allowed to take effect.

In short, the Internet is a precious resource that has flourished thanks to the current multi-stakeholder model. It’s encouraging to see the U.S. government continue to recognize this, but it’s high time the U.S. government also recognize that its attempts to regulate the Internet would violate the very resolution the House passed last night.

[h/t: The Hill]


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Google Reports Surge in Government Takedown Requests

Google reported in its bi-annual transparency report that government requested takedowns are up from the first half of last year. From July to December 2012 Google received 2,285 government requests to remove content from its platforms.
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Twitter: Government User Data Requests Grow, 81% From U.S.

Governments from around the world made 1,858 requests for Twitter data during the second half of 2012. That is compared to the first half when world governments only made 849 requests. Twitter’s statistics come from its biannual transparency report.
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