Encryption Working Group Annual Report from the US House of Representatives

The Encryption Working Group of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee has released its annual report.

Observation #1: Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest.

Observation #2: Encryption technology is a global technology that is widely and increasingly available around the world.

Observation #3: The variety of stakeholders, technologies, and other factors create different and divergent challenges with respect to encryption and the "going dark" phenomenon, and therefore there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the encryption challenge.

Observation #4: Congress should foster cooperation between the law enforcement community and technology companies.

Posted on December 21, 2016 at 9:25 AM • 52 Comments

Comments

John MacdonaldDecember 21, 2016 9:52 AM

How can this be? A government committee producing a report with conclusions that make sense and do not try to suit the agendas of vested interests? Of course, it will be ignored in practice.

WinterDecember 21, 2016 9:54 AM

After the "Offense First, Defense Never" strategy handed the US presidency to the Russians, it seems some sense has reached the TLA community and their representatives.

Randall SnyderDecember 21, 2016 10:06 AM

Winter, I have been steadfastly looking for evidence of Russian involvement in the leaked emails. To date I am unaware of any such proof being presented by the CIA, FBI, NSA or the current administration that supports their narrative. If you have something they don't or are that they are unwilling to share, would you post it for us to review?

Thank you for your efforts to help inform and educate us. :D

Clive RobinsonDecember 21, 2016 10:29 AM

@ Randall Snyder,

If you have something they don't or are that they are unwilling to share, would you post it for us to review?

@Winter dors not have to, he mearly has to deduce what might have been upermost in the committees mind or political posturing / wallpapering the committee thinks reflects the voters view point.

Thus if the MSM are screeming "Putin stole our election" and the CIA are backibg it up etc, then it's a reasonable assumption that the committee members "weather eye" can see a storm approaching, thus batten down for their political future...

Thus it's perception not evidence or compleat lack of that is most important...

hawkDecember 21, 2016 10:35 AM

These are NOT observations. How can they be if they refer only to anticipated outcomes? Quit saying you observed something if you didn't observe it.

hawkDecember 21, 2016 10:41 AM

An innocent man was shot to death by a cop who didn't know the difference between observing something and observing someone who said they observed it.

Clive RobinsonDecember 21, 2016 10:42 AM

Aside from political weather eye, there are a number of other reasons the committee is making what appear on the face of it sensible suggestions.

WHilst there is much argument about what is and is not a "National Security" issue, I suspect that you would be hard pushed to find any engineer, scientist or industrialist or banker/investor who would not say that Energy and Comms are not just a National Security issie but one of absolute importance.

Thus the "psychos" in the DoJ and other slap happy law enforcment is going to be treated with the level of respect that any half crazed loon might expect when doing a "Chicken Little" "Rain Dance".

I suspect that many of the committee members are more than cognizent of the failings "profit led" decision making has given rise to if nothing less the disasterous effect of such behaviour in NZ gave rise to. They know that the short term thinking flies in the face of longterm planning and stability such infrastructure requires.

THus the very least you could exprct them to ask is that people not only make sure the syable os well built, fire and flood proof, but also thst the doors are kept bolted and locked...

GavinDecember 21, 2016 10:47 AM

@Clive Robinson

This link includes many other links supporting the lack of evidence against Russia.

It also includes the links to the Time Magazine article showing how the same people asserting Russia did something... are the ones who used the same failed techniques to get Yeltsin elected in Russia many years ago.

StanDecember 21, 2016 11:01 AM

Maybe the House of Representatives are fearful of the sweeping changes under a Trump administration and the TLAs want to keep their data secure with strong encryption.

WinterDecember 21, 2016 11:27 AM

@Randal Schnyder
"Winter, I have been steadfastly looking for evidence of Russian involvement in the leaked emails."

Someone hacked the political parties and handed to presidency to the Russians. If that is not the worst possible National Security outcome short of a nuclear war I do not know what is.

The TLAs most important task is to protect the integrity of the USA and its institutions. They squandered it in a believe that they could outsmart the rest of the world using offensive capacity. Meanwhile the heart of the US power was subverted under their eyes because of a lack of defenses.

How can a say "Epic Failure"?

MartinDecember 21, 2016 11:35 AM

@Winter
@Robinson

The U.S. presidential election was NOT significantly influenced, if at all, by non-U.S.A. entities.

The election accurately reflects the desire of the each state's voting population. The outcome was not based on the total voting population, but rather on the desires of each state. This is due to the electoral college process. (Without the electoral college process, California's vote for the Democrats would have determined the election; btw, all 55 of California's electoral votes went to Ms Clinton.)

The election also clearly indicated a desire for Republicans and not Democrats in all of the non-presidential races; e.g., congress (Senate & House), Governors, and state legislators.

The problem for the Democrats is NOT Russia, NOT the FBI, but rather they forgot their customers and; hence, forgot to understand their concerns and issues. The customers always win.

The electoral college worked exactly as designed; it is designed to reflect the desires of all 50 states not the desire of a handful of states (or geographical areas) with the largest population. This is pretty simple, high school level, U.S. Constitution principle.

thesaucymugwumpDecember 21, 2016 11:42 AM

@winter

Assange said that the Russians were not the source for their leaks. Perhaps it was a disgruntled Democrat who leaked the details of HRC's gross incompetence and graft.

Fox News: "Wikileaks founder Assange on hacked Podesta, DNC emails: 'Our source is not the Russian government'"

And if HRC was indeed hacked by the Russians, would you really want her in control of the White House where the leaks would be much more destructive? After all, no one forced her to have a separate email server; she did it to obscure the origins of the Clinton Foundation's largesse. The fact that she and Bill never agreed to shutdown the Clinton Foundation proves that it would have continued as a world-class money laundering operation.

You do have a point regarding offensive versus defensive capabilities, but you are blaming the wrong entity. Corporate America has only given lip service to Internet security, with the best example being Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel's $61 million golden parachute after he allowed one of the largest breaches in history.

WinterDecember 21, 2016 12:10 PM

@Martin
"The election accurately reflects the desire of the each state's voting population. "

At the time of the elections. Telling us that the leaked emails did not affect the desires of the voters is a stretch of our credulity.

@thes...
"And if HRC was indeed hacked by the Russians, would you really want her in control of the White House where the leaks would be much more destructive?"

This is a disingenuous argument for two reasons. First, BOTH parties were hacked, but only the emails from the Dems were leaked. And there is nothing that indicates HRCs personal mail server was ever hacked. Second, the TLAs have consistently frustrated attempts to secure computers and networks. They have actively intervened to decrease the security of systems to the point that they have put back doors in security products. So, NO one can secure their computers or networks.

Given these disinfenious remarks, I have to seriously question your motives in this discussion.

Ross SniderDecember 21, 2016 12:38 PM

I am with @V who said "My reading of observations #3 & #4 is ominous and in contradiction with #1 & #2."

It seems to me that 1 and 2 state that there is no good legislative approach.

It seems to me that 3 and 4 state that there is a practical approach whereby companies are infiltrated, bribed and incentivized.

If Bill Clinton had gotten this advice we would all have clipper chips but they would be marketed to us as useful security chips by government technology partners.

GavinDecember 21, 2016 12:42 PM

@Winter

Are you being paid to spread disinformation?

I seriously question your motives on this site in general and in this thread specifically. You have not provided one shred of evidence coming close to "proving" any of your words -- you've simply continued to assert them as though your words are remotely reliable.


Regarding leaked emails: Where's the formal procedures against the CIA chief? You have zero proof that anything actually was changed. Until those show up, you're just spouting more lies.

Regarding assertions of hacking: Show the IP's of the hackers. Wikileaks and Craig Murray and the guy who designed NSA's surveillance system ALL say it's from inside the Democrat establishment. NOT russia -- from the US. Until you show your work, you're a liar.

As well, stop with the foolishness: R's weren't hacked, and you know it.

Regarding "The TLA's being frustrated with securing networks" -- this is a change of subject. It's up to you to show precisely how this is relevant.


I don't expect you to reply with any proof, because you've got nothing but assertion -- and you know it.

thesaucymugwumpDecember 21, 2016 12:42 PM

@winter: Your assumptions demonstrate an unshakeable partisanship. I have no such problem, as I understand that Trump was the second-worst candidate we ever had run for president.

Assange said that the revelations regarding Trump were no different than what he said in public, as compared to HRC who held herself out as the savior of the country. Therefore, contrary to your assertion, Republicans were hacked, but there were no major surprises.

As for the NSA making it difficult to create perfect encryption and my motives:
- Silicon Valley libertarians won't work with the NSA to devise a solution where encryption works for most people but can be penetrated when a court order is issued because they want to be unregulated oligarchs regardless of the effect on other people.
- The government should throw NSA employees into prison, not just fire them, when they abuse NSA technology to spy on girlfriends and others.
- The government should enforce its own laws, i.e. use the FISA Court as it was designed.
- If there is another 9/11, the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other agencies will be pilloried. They don't want to be the ones blamed for it. The truck massacres in Berlin and Nice prove that the threat from Islamists is worsening and adapting.

And I was just about to publish these extensions of Schneier's list, so I'm adding them here:

Observation #5: Unbreakable encryption will allow child porn purveyors to continue abusing children and Islamic terrorists to plan and coordinate future attacks.

Observation #6: Contrary to popular belief, there is no right to a private Internet. Schenck v. United States held that there are limits to free speech, e.g. "falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic." Wiretapping is almost as old as the telephone.

Observation #7: The Internet is not a private telecommunications medium; it is the world's most public one, which many people share. If you don't like that, establish your very own network.

Sancho_PDecember 21, 2016 1:09 PM

Am I the only one to find that report to be shocking?
It took them one year to realize and write down 3 points and one recommendation?

Their conclusion is this ”We must strive to find common ground … ” ? Oh really?
And now?
Do we restart the entire discussion?

The Russians do better, no doubt.
Hopefully Trump (with Putin’s help) will solve that ”complex challenge for us.

***

You got a new president.
Please accept this fact and start looking ahead, time doesn’t go backwards.

Thomas DoubterDecember 21, 2016 1:36 PM

So, does this mean NSA et al have cracked and backdoored encryption to the extent it's wide open to them anymore?

I know the math of encryption is swell, but with a back door does that matter? Who really and truly audits the code for weaknesses?

I wouldn't count on the report to be final at all. Comey is still around you know.

CuriousDecember 21, 2016 2:11 PM

I haven't read the report, but I can only hope that this nonsense of "unknown unknowns" (Cue D. Rumsfeld) never is a thing again in US. For what it is worth, I'd stress that such types of points is really anti-rational thinking, and all you could get from that is some kind of hysteria if that makes sense. If there's anything learned from philosophy, it is that a priori knowledge doesn't really exist.

Clive RobinsonDecember 21, 2016 2:50 PM

@ Gavin

I care not if there was evidence or not, I've called out the lack of even any circumstantial evidence, each time the US has made cyber claims against other countries.

The important point is that this is fundementaly a political report not a judicial or scientific report.

Politics is not about evidence, it's about spin, posturing, getting contributions and polishing a chair for the next term.

Thus what is important is not evidence, but "what people appear to believe" based on what the likes of the MSM and people with bruised politico egos are screaming out, as that effects the committee members tenure.

Personaly I think more than enough "Reds Under The Bed" scare has been vented for the rest of the year, which traditionaly has been avout "Peace and Goodwill".

So can we all agree to stow it untill more is known about the who and what of how the President-Elect is setting up his administration, say Jan 12 onwards?

As twice boiled cabbage tastes bad enought five or six times is compleatly unpalatable to all but those with no taste.

DanielDecember 21, 2016 4:05 PM

@hawk

It's a form of gaslighting...

Party A: Why are you racist?!
Party B: What?! I am not racist. What makes you think I am racist?
Party A: Because you said you hated black people.
Party B: What?! I never said I hated black people!
Party A: yes you did! Just five minutes ago.
Party B: (pausing to think) No I didn't. I said that Party B said he hated black people.
Party A: Well it's the same thing.
Party B: WTF?!
Party A: But if you didn't approve of the substance of the quote, why did you quote him?
Party B: He said it, not me.
Party A: Well, you wouldn't say it, you would even think about it if you didn't believe it to be true.
Party B: WTF?!
Party A: Decent people don't talk about racism.

The goal of gaslighting is to put you--the sane person--on the defense by creating a false association in the mind; to replace your own powers of memory and observation with the observations of the authority figure. This happens by breaking down the distinction between what two different people claim to have observed.

And that's advantage the gaslighter has. He knows that the thing which he wants you to believe never occurred or is never going to occur but the victim's credibility--especially their credibility in the face of an aggressive authority--makes them mistrust themselves. The part I have always found truly odd, despite the fact that the psychology literature repeatedly confirms it, is that the more outlandish the false observation the more likely the victim believes it.

Daniel December 21, 2016 4:07 PM

sigh, a typo. Party B: (pausing to think) No I didn't. I said that Party B should read at the end Party C.

trsm.mckayDecember 21, 2016 4:29 PM

On the political side of this thread, I will just observe that the proponents of the "no Russian involvement in hacking" seem to use projection (assuming someone else's motives are the same as your own) when they state people are ignoring evidence and are unjustifiably confident of their conclusions.

thesaucymugwump@
Observation #5: Unbreakable encryption will allow child porn purveyors to continue abusing children and Islamic terrorists to plan and coordinate future attacks.

And private ownership of vehicles makes it easier to get away after a bank robbery. Guns can help (rarely) in self-defense, but also increase the chance of accidental shootings. Any tool can be used for bad goals. I have found that people who shout "Child Porn" in a crowded theater typically have an agenda they don't want to disclose. :-)

Observation #6: Contrary to popular belief, there is no right to a private Internet. Schenck v. United States held that there are limits to free speech, e.g. "falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic." Wiretapping is almost as old as the telephone.

Making sweeping generalizations using a massive amount of simplification makes this false and misleading. Some specific problems: Last I heard the internet existed outside of the US, so using a narrow USA court ruling to justify a topic about the vast and complicated internet won't lead to useful information (for example European privacy laws do effect the internet, even in the USA). Comparing the internet to wiretapping has some limited value, but only if you realize there are many internet uses where this comparison is useless.

Observation #7: The Internet is not a private telecommunications medium; it is the world's most public one, which many people share. If you don't like that, establish your very own network.

This is not a natural law, and our current laws are not written in stone (also see comments on Observations #5 and #6). You do realize that there are communications mediums where privacy is expected, and enforced by laws and procedure? Just because some internet activities can be mapped to more relaxed protections (like the USA-oriented relaxation of PEN registers) does not mean there are no internet activities that should be treated as a protected mode of communication.

trsm.mckayDecember 21, 2016 4:46 PM

@thesaucymugwump

Now for some more positive comments...

- The government should throw NSA employees into prison, not just fire them, when they abuse NSA technology to spy on girlfriends and others.

Totally agree, and also cynical enough to believe this type of abuse will always happen and is hard to prevent.

- The government should enforce its own laws, i.e. use the FISA Court as it was designed.

What you mean is the the FISA court should be used as it was "advertised". I maintain that it actually functions exactly as it was "designed" (which is as a rubber stamp).

thesaucymugwumpDecember 21, 2016 7:06 PM

@trsm.mckay

"private ownership of vehicles makes it easier to get away after a bank robbery"

This is a very poor analogy, as we have a myriad of ways of stopping vehicles: nail strips, firearms, ramming, etc. And you do know that the FBI was largely created because 1920s and 1930s criminals, e.g. Bonnie & Clyde, moved from state to state to escape local law enforcement, right?

"Guns can help (rarely) in self-defense, but also increase the chance of accidental shootings"

The second part is correct, as well as suicides, but the first is liberal nonsense. Gary Kleck, a criminologist, did a few studies where it was found that firearms are used 2.5 million times each year to forestall crimes. Admittedly the data exaggerates reality, possibly because he chose residents of violent areas. Take a zero off and you still have 250,000 times firearms are used to prevent crimes. The U.S. is a very violent place.

"Last I heard the internet [sic] existed outside of the US"

The problem with your argument is that ALL access to the Internet for Americans starts within the U.S. If you lived outside the U.S., you would have a point.

Your last paragraph is irrelevant. The Internet is not private. Deal with it.

AnuraDecember 21, 2016 8:15 PM

@John Macdonald

This is a working group. There are always some politicians on the side of the people, it's just that those who ultimately decide are party leadership, and for them it's about the party and not the policy.

DroneDecember 21, 2016 10:41 PM

How long did I have to work today just to pay for a bloated corrupt government that has something like "The Encryption Working Group of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee" that works for a whole year then submits a report of its findings that states what is plainly obvious to any clear thinking person?

HermanDecember 21, 2016 11:31 PM

@Winter: Who leaked the emails is not important - that is simply an attempt at throwing sand in the eyes of the public. The contents of the emails is what counts and it exposes the DRC backstabbing that was going on to kill the Sanders campaign. The DRC backed the wrong candidate. Trump is president. Get over it.

US politics is worse than a Hollywood Soap Opera and extremely boring to the rest of the planet anyway. It is time to get a life and move on.

WinterDecember 22, 2016 12:55 AM

@Herman
"The contents of the emails is what counts and it exposes the DRC backstabbing that was going on to kill the Sanders campaign."

One sided selective exposure of moral "misbehavior" is not "manipulation" of the public?

@thesa..
"Therefore, contrary to your assertion, Republicans were hacked, but there were no major surprises."

Could we be the judge of that? And what about the Republican party? Comey's "new evidence" proved to be NO surprise. Is there ANYone who can claim with dry eyes that the news barrage that followed did not affect the votes?

@Gavin
"Wikileaks and Craig Murray and the guy who designed NSA's surveillance system ALL say it's from inside the Democrat establishment. NOT russia -- from the US. Until you show your work, you're a liar."

Where is YOUR evidence for that? How can they be sure? This is just more blaming the victim. We know, it is ALWAYS the fault of the victim.

And the TLAs really should not care who did the hack. It happened and Russia is happy. They should have prevented it.

DerpDecember 22, 2016 12:56 AM

@Gavin:

"Regarding assertions of hacking: Show the IP's of the hackers. Wikileaks and Craig Murray and the guy who designed NSA's surveillance system ALL say it's from inside the Democrat establishment. NOT russia -- from the US. Until you show your work, you're a liar."

I'd love to read more about this. The Wikileaks, Craig Murray, and NSA Surveillance Designer guy all saying it's inside. Any links or articles?

I had read rumors that some of the DNC "hacks" were actually internal leaks as opposed to external penetrations by foreign adversaries. I'm trying to build a better case in other discussion forums that we the public don't really have anything that points to Russia at this point but BS political accusations.

Thanks.

TovaritchDecember 22, 2016 1:17 AM

@thesaucymugwump: Dude. Just because it is technically possible to collect all internet traffic does not mean that those who have given themselves the right and the means to do so, with our money, without our consent, and secretly, are not a bunch of jerks. It is not right, it should not be happening, and they belong locked up for it, regardless how many real or manufactured terrorists or child pornographers they catch.

AnonDecember 22, 2016 2:59 AM

@Winter: I'll bite. Assume for a moment the Russians did hack the DNC and leak the e-mails.

1) It doesn't change the fact Clinton did the things she did during the campaign. I have not seen anyone say the leaks aren't true.

2) It is an insult to the American people to think they would be swayed by a bunch of e-mails.

First, Bill Clinton leaves a bad taste in the mouth. To think his wife was running for President is reason enough not to vote for her.

Second, no-one ever dismissed the e-mails as lies - they only worried that they had been exposed.

Third, Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State was less than stellar, which likely was far more of a factor in people's decision-making than the e-mails.

Bottom line: they were masters of their own downfall. Typical left: it was anyone's fault but their own.

NotAmericanDecember 22, 2016 7:22 AM

@Winter, @Gavin, et al

Isn't the point that all the intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia attempted to influence the election. See CNN.

The emails could be one of many techniques (eg fake Facebook news articles etc).

Whether they were successful or not can never really be proven. Who knows whether Trump would still have won without the influence? It's a one shot experiment.

Clive RobinsonDecember 22, 2016 8:04 AM

Whilst people are arguing over "what the US people think" on the DNC doccument release, has anybody bothered to ask what uninvolved nations citizens think and also what Russian citizens think?

As you can probably gather the US and it's citizens are not exactly highly regarded outside of the US.

Because of what some people chose to call American Exceptionalism and others call idiocy / war mongering, with quite a few other less polite things thrown in. Even in countries where you would expect the WASP-bond, opinion on the US is getting to an all time low, with little sign of stopping it's downward descent.

In part it's because many see Obama as worse than Bush junior, which is quite an achievement in of it's self. As well as a compleate failure to implement any kind of worthwhile social reforms in the US, or curb US mega-corps bad behaviour. Some actually view Obama as actively encoraging the worst of US mega-cops with his ultra secret trade deals, and the fact of Mrs Clintons obsequious private support of US big business has made her toxic to many nations, including Australia. Worse though was Obama clearly playing "follow my leader" to UK PM David Cameron and the "Snoopers Charter" ideas.

This was further not at all helped by the pictures of Obama and his seniors apparently "enjoying" the photo call whilst watching a drone strike (and Mrs Clinton revealed secret information in it via her laptop screen).

Many have stopped asking themselves in the privacy of their own heads, and now openly voice complaint to the US involvment in the mess that is the middle east and the refugee crisis that has arisen and ask "when are the drones comming for us" likewise "when are the US created terrorists coming for us".

People in Germany are seriously asking why the US are turning Germany and Europe to the east of them into the new middle east... In short many in Europe do not see Russia in the same way as those in the US and they also view the US considerably less favourably than Russia, with an attendent rise in extreme right wing views.

But the curious thing is how some Russians view things. They see the US driving NATO against them, they see the "Panama Papers" as a CIA attack on the Russian leadership and much more besides. Thus they actually like the idea that Putin's People got revenge, even though there is no evidence for it. Thus Putin is as popular as ever, and has been gifted the popularity by US squabbling and infighting.

Then last Monday happened and two things kind of hit the news, firstly and mainly the --assumed-- "terrorist hidden in refugee influx" attack that killed 12 and injured another 84 in Germany, and the assasination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey by a Turkish Police Officer.

Both have strongly polarised view points on the US and it's machinations. Europeans are pointing the finger at the US and Germany over the refugee crisis that is "enabling" the influx of terrorists. And in Russia the US support of Turkey and it's hated leader has intensified anti US anti NATO views...

In the past lesser views have led to wars including two world wars, and many see the US people like Nero fiddling whilst the flames arise around them.

This is further not helped by the fact that so many outside the US view the outgoing Obama administration as evil, and Mrs Clinton as being even worse. Thus some are actually relieved if not joyous that Donald Trump is going to be the new president. So you can imagine what thay think of the DNC eMail release, and sort of view who ever was responsible as a bit of a hero...

Some in the UK are not joking when they say that fairly soon the US will need an independent UK as a life line, thus they see the UK becoming a world power broker and mediator on the world stage, advising and facilitating the Trump Administration... Delusional perhaps but some of them are current UK politicians in the party that is currently in power in the UK.

With such viewpoints getting press around the world US credibility sinks even more rapidly over the "in fighting and squabbling" over the DNC leakes. The US is seen as loudly advertising it is weak and unable to protect it's self and it's critical national infrastructure. Thus politicians outside of the US are making significant mileage on it. This is going to start emboldening some and what will follow will be instability of the sort that increases tension on the trigger finger.

You only have to look at what is going on in the South China seas to realise that things are getting close to boiling point. Especially when the Chinese amongst others know that much of the US armed forces are "for show" not actual projection of power and swallowing resources that would be better deployed in other more proactive and stronger defensive ways.

Whilst some people are in awe and fear of drones, others know they currently have a major Achilles heal, which is the "long line" satellite communications. Some even know with high probability which satellites and their orbits, and have shown they have the capability of getting their own payloads up there, thus have the capability to render the drone control much less effective if not mute.

Further the end of WWII showed that "surface ships" are "sitting ducks" to submarines and more recently --the modern day equivalent of the Kamikaze-- cruise missiles that have ranges two or more times that of the aircraft in carrier groups, and have a fractional cost of those aircraft (which in some cases appear to be duds)...

Is it suprising that some military strategists are sounding gloomy about what will happen to the US if it tries to "front up" to Chinese forces in the South China seas.

The fact that the US appears to be letting China get it's own way down there... and of course Russia apparently also getting it's own way in eastern Europe and Syria... Whilst all the US appears to be doing is "blowing smoke" on unsubstantiated allegations, whilst busy "infighting" and claiming "all comers are violating their national infrastructure", is not improving the world view...

We are certainly entering "interesting times", and others will no doubt make it even more interesting...

thesaucymugwumpDecember 22, 2016 9:49 AM

@winter

Assange is the most knowledgeable expert on the subject. You reject his statements which tells us all we need to know. I'll bet you were strongly in support of Wikileaks when it was revealing the NSA's secrets. As for Comey's "new evidence," many people cast ballots by mail or otherwise in advance, so his last-minute letter did not have that much impact.

@Tovaritch

Comrade, you wouldn't happen to be a Russian cyber-criminal or a professional troll working on улица Савушкина, would you?

Я не знаю,
Я не знаю,
Ничего, Ничего,
...

Clive RobinsonDecember 22, 2016 9:58 AM

@ Ratio,

Are you trolling this thread?

Perhaps you might care to read the posts on this thread in order...

Then maybe "Brush up your Shakespeare"...

And then one or two other subjects.

RatioDecember 22, 2016 3:40 PM

@Clive Robinson,

Perhaps you might care to read the posts on this thread in order...

I had done that. Hence the question.

Then maybe "Brush up your Shakespeare"...

I'll try to "ascend upwards" to your level.

And then one or two other subjects.

You're too kind.


You don't see any parallel between your comment above and the comment you thought could have been made to troll because it was off-topic?

You brought up a whole range of topics that weren't even the topic of the off-topic conversation in a comment that weighs in at a svelte 1000 words: the popularity of the US and its citizens abroad, the achievements of Obama, the involvement of the US in the Middle East, etc. (And that's just the first third of your comment.)

No similarities with what you thought might be trolling?

On top of that you make all sorts of not exactly uncontroversial claims without any evidence but with a plethora of weasel words. Clearly Not trolling. Nuh-uh.

You don't see how I could think you were trolling?


If you weren't trolling, then all I can say is that your comment needs a lot of work (see above). Also, you may want to see if the reasoning is up to snuff, and if you're sure about the few facts you do mention. (For example, the number of injured in the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin could be 49 instead of 84. You might want to verify.)

Gerard van VoorenDecember 23, 2016 10:30 AM

@ Clive Robinson re: December 22, 2016 8:04 AM

Seriously a great argument!

Let me add my short personal opinion (about the subject).

About: "Observation #4: Congress should foster cooperation between the law enforcement community and technology companies."

Well, let them do it! The "Big Five" of IT are also the worst privacy violators. It's good to mistrust these companies since they *are* evil. So if US Congress want to foster cooperation between law enforcement and these (and other US-) tech companies, which translates to: give me the data for money, they have my blessing. Because maybe then people start to realize what is going on.

m. naviGatIonDecember 24, 2016 11:06 PM

@Derp, who asked @Gavin:

I'd love to read more about this. The Wikileaks, Craig Murray, and NSA Surveillance Designer guy all saying it's inside. Any links or articles?

I had read rumors that some of the DNC "hacks" were actually internal leaks as opposed to external penetrations by foreign adversaries. I'm trying to build a better case in other discussion forums that we the public don't really have anything that points to Russia at this point but BS political accusations.

I assume that William Binney is the "NSA Surveillance Designer guy" you refer to. Sorry if I guessed wrong.

Craig Murray

19 Oct, 2016
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/10/really-really-upset-foreign-office-security-services/
excerpt:


I left Julian after midnight. He is fit, well, sharp and in good spirits. WikiLeaks never reveals or comments upon its sources, but as I published before a fortnight ago, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is not any Russian state actor or proxy that gave the Democratic National Committee and Podesta material to WikiLeaks. The claim is nonsense. Journalists are also publishing that these were obtained by "hacking" with no evidence that this was the method used to obtain them.


See also:

  • 11 Dec, 2016

  • Interview regarding blog post above

  • 12 Dec, 2016


  • Julian Assange

    Short (5 min) interview with a Dutch TV journalist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RLh_BlPNNU
    Excerpt:


    Journalist: If you're so fond of democracy, if this is about democracy, does it matter that the source of these emails, or the source of the hacking at least, is most likely from a country that does not take democracy very seriously, Russia? Because that is what has been published.


    Assange: Well, that's false. James Clapper, the head of US intelligence has come out and said that they have no attribution in relation to who supplied Wikileaks' material, they're not certain as to motive, and there's our publications and then there's various hacks that have occured in the United States over the past two(?) years from a wide variety of actors.


    There has been a deliberate inflation, by the Hillary Clinton campaign, of course, to try and distract from the revelations of rigging the nomination process, to go "Oh, look, Russia!" or something like that. From a journalistic point of view, we get this sort of thing all the time. Whenever we publish something about some major institution, they're always trying to make a distraction.


    But I think it is a serious claim by the Clinton campaign. Why do I say that? Well, because they have now said that an electoral candidate, Trump, is somehow an agent of the Russians. They've said another investigative publisher, The Intercept, is an agent of the Russians, a stooge of the Russians. That Wikileaks is. Even in the Bernie Sanders process they tried to imply that. So this hearkens back to a very grim period in US history of McCarthyism, where anyone you're politically opposed to, you say is an agent of a foreign government.


    Longer interview with John Pilger (25 mins)
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sbT3_9dJY4
    Transcript: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/04/the-secrets-of-the-us-election-julian-assange-talks-to-john-pilger/
    Excerpted exchange at 2:30 through 3:40


    Pilger: The Clinton campaign has said that Russia is behind all of this, that Russia has manipulated the campaign and is the source for WikiLeaks and its emails.


    Assange: The Clinton camp has been able to project that kind of neo-McCarthy hysteria: that Russia is responsible for everything. Hilary Clinton stated multiple times, falsely, that seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That is false; we can say that the Russian government is not the source.


    WikiLeaks has been publishing for ten years, and in those ten years, we have published ten million documents, several thousand individual publications, several thousand different sources, and we have never got it wrong.



    William Binney

    Memo co-authored with Mike Gravel, Larry Johnson, Ray McGovern, Elizabeth Murray, and Kirk Weibe
    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/
    Excerpt:


    The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.


    The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.


    The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.


    As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. Thus, it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.


    A few more relevant quotes attributed to Binney can be found in this piece:
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/370465-russia-hacking-claims-nsa-binney/


    ET ALIA

    Robert Graham

    This piece by Robert Graham is intriguing:
    http://blog.erratasec.com/2016/12/from-putin-with-love-novel-by-new-york.html
    Excerpt:


    It's not that Russia isn't involved, it's that the exact nature of their involvement is complicated. Just because the hackers live in Russia doesn't automatically mean their attacks are directed by the government.


    It's like the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe and America. Despite ISIS claiming credit, and the perpetrators crediting ISIS, we are loathe to actually blame the attacks directly on ISIS. Overwhelmingly, it's individuals who finance and plan their attacks, with no ISIS organizational involvement other than inspiration.


    The same goes for Russian hacks. The Russian hacker community is complicated. There are lots of actors with various affiliations with the government. They are almost always nationalistic, almost always pro-Putin. There are many individuals and groups who act to the benefit of Putin/Russia with no direct affiliation with the government. Others do have ties with the government, but these are often informal relationships, sustained by patronage and corruption.


    Evidence tying Russian attacks to the Russian government is thus the most important question of all -- and it's one that the New York Times is failing to answer. The fewer facts they have, the more they fill the void with vast amounts of verbiage.


    The above piece includes the postscript: "Note: many ideas in this piece come from a discussion with a friend who doesn't care to be credited"


    Marcy Wheeler

    An analysis of what evidence is required to prove elements of CIA/John Brennan's allegations:
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/10/evidence-prove-russian-hack/

    Her skepticism regarding Craig Murray's version of events:
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/15/craig-murrays-description-of-wikileaks-sources/


    James Clapper

    Whenever you hear someone who is not named James Clapper telling you what James Clapper believes, check to make sure your wallet has not been stolen.

    Past experience teaches us to parse James Clapper's words extremely carefully. (And, of course, when he makes claims of fact, we always keep in mind his famous lying to Congress.)

    But, on the topic of the Director of National Intelligence's knowledge of whether the Russian government provided DNC/Podesta emails to Wikileaks, Clapper's statements have been consistently one of the more circumspect voices to be found.

    The observant reader will note that Wall Street Journal Reporters, Democratic Presidential Nominees, CIA directors, and various other commentators (of all stripes) have an alarming propensity to attribute claims to Clapper that are not only nowhere to be found in his public statements, but which directly contradict them.

    Just FYI.

    RatioDecember 28, 2016 4:39 PM

    @Gerard van Vooren,

    Seriously a great argument!

    So what is the argument being made (in a couple sentences)?

    Is any evidence provided for the claims made? Is it factually correct?

    Is the reasoning valid? Would a comment that argues against your currently held positions and uses this same sort of reasoning win you over?

    Or maybe you meant to say: I seriously agree with what you're saying!


    Maybe take some inspiration from this quote from the late mathematician Paul Halmos on how to approach mathematics (an intellectual activity where thinking straight is all that matters):

    Don't just read it; fight it! Ask your own questions, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? What happens in the classical special case? What about the degenerate cases? Where does the proof use the hypothesis?

    Gerard van VoorenDecember 29, 2016 4:29 AM

    @ Ratio,

    You have the right to remain a pain.
    Everything you say can and will be ignored.

    RatioDecember 29, 2016 9:07 PM

    @Gerard van Vooren,

    You have the right to remain a pain.
    Everything you say can and will be ignored.

    Déjà vu.

    You could, of course, also use my comments to your advantage. Imagine the pleasure of completely demolished something I said. Now imagine it was one of my comments that provided you the weapon. Wouldn't that be awesome?

    Gerard van VoorenDecember 30, 2016 1:45 AM

    @ Ratio,

    You could, of course, also use my comments to your advantage. Imagine the pleasure of completely demolished something I said. Now imagine it was one of my comments that provided you the weapon. Wouldn't that be awesome?

    I will tell you where this kind of reasoning leads to: Derailing.

    So far I haven't see you arguing about security, technical issues, nor politics, human rights, etc. However, I did see you derail almost everything you touched. You also use the same tactics for doing that. I assume that you are some kind of lawyer that is specialized in derailing techniques or you are trying to learn.

    I don't really care about "awesome, I just won the debate on minor details (but forgot to overlook the picture)."

    RatioDecember 31, 2016 10:37 PM

    @Gerard van Vooren,

    My comment was tongue-in-cheek. Oh, well...

    So far I haven't see you arguing about security, technical issues, nor politics, human rights, etc.

    My earliest comments are from late July (in the post on the book Decoded). I've read through all my comments and a large part of the comment section in general up to and including the post My Priorities for the Next Four Years from two weeks ago. (I had only so much obligatory time to kill.)

    Now, I'm biased, but I think you'll find that your impression doesn't match what happened.

    True, I don't drone on about what people's opinions should be. If that's the critique, I'm happy to disappoint.

    Why not show people evidence and point out faulty reasoning? Or if you really feel you must, make a convincing argument for the views you hold. (You'll probably need to show them data. People may want to probe, or find out more. That's good.) But mostly, let people make up their own minds. They will anyway.

    However, I did see you derail almost everything you touched. You also use the same tactics for doing that. I assume that you are some kind of lawyer that is specialized in derailing techniques or you are trying to learn.

    Why assume bad faith like that?

    I don't really care about "awesome, I just won the debate on minor details (but forgot to overlook the picture)."

    And you (the general "you") debate this big picture by hurling abuse at someone when they have the audacity of asking for more information, or for a reference? Or when they so much as question or correct an assumption, point out bad reasoning or otherwise challenge what is supposed to be the basis for your (the general "you") views? Because that's what happens.

    Anyway, thanks for your reply.

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