bling_capital_Ltd June 8, 2013 11:30 AM

Disclosure: I don’t read your blog religiously, but from time to time check in to see what you are up to.

I saw your recent article in the Atlantic, Birth of the Surveillance State, and your post from March 16th titled The Internet is a Surveillance State. I’ve been working in this area for some time now, but these two articles really struck me, especially in light of the recent NSA leaks, because I had always felt your tone was calmly critical, but comfortable with the status quo. Things might not be exactly the way you want it to be, but you’re satisfied with your involvement and think your expertise in cryptography and your ideas on security can make a meaningful contribution.

The tone of these recent articles is different. “So, we’re done” you say in the article from March. Like, it’s over. “Sure, we can take measures to prevent this… But increasingly, none of it matters.” The tone is depressing. We live in privacy hell now, and we’re defenseless. There is no happy ending, no crypto product to try.

The article in the Atlantic shift from depression to desperation, as if you’ve left behind encryption and security practices and have become an information revolutionary more interested in promoting insecurity than security. The only thing left to do is for good people to risk their lives in order to save us from these threats. We’re in the hands of whistleblowers now. It makes me think you’ve been converted to the Julian Assange point of view. Honestly I don’t know your previous views on Wikileaks, but I found it incredible that you think it’s the only way forward.

Do I understand you correctly.

Anyway, they’re really important articles. It’s important to see one’s own depression and desperation mirrored in someone as grounded and well respected as you.

And I hope a few guardians in the high castle hear your call to leak. Let them leak and leak and leak.

bling_capital_Ltd June 8, 2013 12:43 PM

Is there a physical address someone can send you bling to? I have a pair of almost brand new diamond studded platinum teeth appliances which I think would look great on you. Can I mail them to you through your publisher? If so, which would that be?

I’m very disappointed “Privacy is dead” isn’t 8 letters long because I think you could get it tattooed on your knuckles. I’m also thinking blinking LEDs are going to be the next big thing in body modification.

But I’m also wondering if there isn’t some breakthrough occurring in communication? Is encryption really the only way forward? Is there a private communication that can occur between individuals even under the condition of ubiquitous surveillance?

The storybooks say no. I think the answer is yes.

Imagine if you will, two depths. The first is cryptographic distance, between the plaintext and the ciphertext. The unity of these elements is only a key away. It’s not really so far at all. Give up 20 characters and you’re there.

But there is a second depth within the message itself. And there is no telling how deep it is, and no computer can adjust to it. Not yet.

There is something very important in the fact religion often involves symbolic elements. Gods are not only Gods, but promises of escape from worldly power, of Rome, of the eternal boot upon the eternal suffering face. Religion is resistance. Religious messages and symbols are created to survive under the harshest conditions.

Privacy is maybe dead only for the unholy. The holy can create privacy out of thin air, because they know how to become impenetrable, cryptic, and how to serve as the Ark of the Covenant, a thing which carries us forward through the 40 years of suffering.

Who today in the West understands this, after 40 years of mundane confession. Come out of the closet. Speak your mind. Therapy on broadcast television. Tell everyone everything. If you see something, say something. Facebook.

Is it an accident that after the West has abandoned its mystical relations, power is confronted most of all by a “primitive” religion? You should attend the mosque and ask the imam how he “encrypts” his speech while the FBI records his every word.

There can only be fragments now, which must be taken apart and arranged to make sense. Coherence has to take place on the symbolic level, outside the text.

Do you wonder if they have developed a gestural language, perhaps involving the color and orientation of their little caps, and the subtle gestures of their sitting and kneeling and bowing and standing, which propagates information effortlessly and imperceptibly through the room. Could it happen?

What I am describing is a weapon. It involves the dispersion of fictive hermenunutic potentiality across existing objects. It is also about the actualization of this fiction. It involves shifting the locus of communication away from digital space, to raise a barrier to algorithmic power. Raise barriers and multiply hermeneutic potentiality, the “logical space” of possible meanings. Do not overwhelm them with additional objects, which can easily be stored, but the depth of the analysis.

Imagine a piece of writing that once it enters the machine begins working on the machine itself, rather than the reverse. Like a virus. There must be a piece of writing like that, don’t you think? You write it, and it automatically arrives to its destination. Magical. And it unfolds itself and delivers its payload.

What would it take to get your writing not only delivered to the target, but also read by a human being capable of detonating the meaning it contains?

The Atlantic. Yes. But it’s not enough. That’s begging. There has to be an attack on the system.

Weaponized writing, directed to the enemy. Made to infiltrate the system and come to the attention of the guardians. To pass through the gate means to fail to pass as unnoticed. Such writing must be encoded with violence.

The missile casing of such a work must appear, for all intents and purposes, as a devastating and unheard of terrorist plan, a Rube Goldberg device detonating at the heart of the City. Preposterous but impossible to ignore. A shadowy stage lit with bright red spot lights showing the body of an actor who can make the machines believe anything. In his hand the detonator.

There must be a certain impossible blurring of literature and violence. A fictive violence, positioned with its foot forward, in a stance ready to strike, but never doing so. A gesture to draw the payload inexorably to its target: the living human being of flesh and blood who is positioned to strike directly at the machine.

Let them stare at it a while and ponder their position.

Not terrorism from outside. Revolution from within.

We must build many Roads to Damascus into the heart of Utah, so that there may be many Paul’s falling from their horses, to unite with us in this strange and new cult.

I see this possibility conjured in my head mirrored inside the fortress, somehow passing through the barrier, to the softest and most vulnerable places inside. Striking its target like a beam of light.

This is redemption without the laying on of hands, without baptism. Only observing the sign. You see it and you know. You begin to see it everywhere, this gesture of patient victory that cannot be extinguished, that survives extinction.

That symbol is the name Jesus Christ. It is however, completely absent its usual sense, because it had to make way for these additional senses which I have just described. However, it masks itself in its old garb. Jesus Christ appears before us and he says:


Figureitout June 8, 2013 12:57 PM

–He wants oversight, not insecurity. Stating reality isn’t depression, it’s sincerity. Cracking encryption is just one way in; supply chain poisoning, millions of weird and ugly software attacks, Tempest/LED emissions, physical security, OS security, compiler security. It’s the side channels that are depressing b/c closing them (if you can even find them all) severely limits functionality.

And I don’t really know what to make of your second post lol…Creative though.

Figureitout June 8, 2013 1:05 PM

Watching ripples of water reflect sunlight in a flickering pattern that slowly ended kind of gave me an idea I may want to try sometime though, perhaps when the ice-caps melt. Similar to past ways, just different.

Bruce Clement June 9, 2013 11:16 PM

@bling_capital_ltd “I’m very disappointed “Privacy is dead” isn’t 8 letters long because I think you could get it tattooed on your knuckles”

I’m not sure if these Chinese characters will survive posting, and I don’t know if it’s grammatically correct but
隐私是死 translates to “Privacy is dead” in both Google & Bing translation pages

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