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Julian Assange: Cryptographic Call to Arms

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posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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Hello again ATS!

Since my voice is always loudly crying out on the issue of Cyberfreedom and the protection of this digital world we now inhabit. I find myself an unlikely bedfellow in one Julian Assange. To be honest I have never gotten a positive feeling from Assange and, therefore, have never really spent much time researching or caring about him. But a fragment of his book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet - by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn and Jérémie Zimmermann. OR Books, New York, 2012, 186 pages hit Cryptome today and speaks to the issue I am so passionate about:

From the book ( as hosted on Cryptome.org: )


INTRODUCTION: A CALL TO CRYPTOGRAPHIC ARMS



This book is not a manifesto. There is not time for that. This book is a warning.

The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.

These transformations have come about silently, because those who know what is going on work in the global surveillance industry and have no incentives to speak out. Left to its own trajectory, within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

While many writers have considered what the internet means for global civilization, they are wrong. They are wrong because they do not have the sense of perspective that direct experience brings. They are wrong because they have never met the enemy.

No description of the world survives first contact with the enemy.

We have met the enemy.

The platonic nature of the internet, ideas and information flows, is debased by its physical origins. Its foundations are fiber optic cable lines stretching across the ocean floors, satellites spinning above our heads, computer servers housed in buildings in cities from New York to Nairobi. Like the soldier who slew Archimedes with a mere sword, so too could an armed militia take control of the peak development of Western civilization, our platonic realm.

The new world of the internet, abstracted from the old world of brute atoms, longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world -- by controlling its physical underpinnings. The state, like an army around an oil well, or a customs agent extracting bribes at the border, would soon learn to leverage its control of physical space to gain control over our platonic realm. It would prevent the independence we had dreamed of, and then, squatting on fiber optic lines and around satellite ground stations, it would go on to mass intercept the information flow of our new world -- its very essence even as every human, economic, and political relationship embraced it. The state would leech into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every web page read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then store this knowledge, billions of interceptions a day, undreamed of power, in vast top secret warehouses, forever. It would go on to mine and mine again this treasure, the collective private intellectual output of humanity, with ever more sophisticated search and pattern finding algorithms, enriching the treasure and maximizing the power imbalance between interceptors and the world of interceptees. And then the state would reflect what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast connected network of industries, insiders and cronies.

But we discovered something. Our one hope against total domination. A hope that with courage, insight and solidarity we could use to resist. A strange property of the physical universe that we live in.

The universe believes in encryption.

It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it.

We saw we could use this strange property to create the laws of a new world. To abstract away our new platonic realm from its base underpinnings of satellites, undersea cables and their controllers. To fortify our space behind a cryptographic veil. To create new lands barred to those who control physical reality, because to follow us into them would require infinite resources.

And in this manner to declare independence.

In this way, people can oppose their will to that of a fully mobilized superpower and win. Encryption is an embodiment of the laws of physics, and it does not listen to the bluster of states, even transnational surveillance dystopias.

It isn't obvious that the world had to work this way. But somehow the universe smiles on encryption.

Cryptography is the ultimate form of non-violent direct action. While nuclear weapons states can exert unlimited violence over even millions of individuals, strong cryptography means that a state, even by exercising unlimited violence, cannot violate the intent of individuals to keep secrets from them.

Strong cryptography can resist an unlimited application of violence. No amount of coercive force will ever solve a math problem.

It is time to take up the arms of our new world, to fight for ourselves and for those we love.

Our task is to secure self-determination where we can, to hold back the coming dystopia where we cannot, and if all else fails, to accelerate its self-destruction.

-- Julian Assange, London, October 2012


Those represent excerpts from the content on Cryptome - which is the full text of the first seven pages of Assange;s book.

Personally, I don't use much encryption because I see it as a trap. Judges, at least in the US do have the power to hold you indefinitely, in contempt of court, if you refuse to divulge encryption keys in a case where the state has a warrant for the contents of your computer.

Given that, it is my feeling that encryption is best left to personal communications - and only then if one is capable of deleting those communications fully and effectively.

But there could be hope for encryption if the right privacy laws were passed, clarified, or simply upheld.

It's an interesting point Mr Assange makes.

What say you ATS. Is this man genuine in his concern - or simply an opportunist trying to make himself a hero, in the eyes of the people, in a desperate attempt to evade the legal guillotine that is currently hovering over him?

Is this an act of desperation - or are these the words of a digital prophet who sees what today and tomorrow have in store?

My opinion? A bit of both.

~Heff
edit on 12/1/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 12:58 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 





No description of the world survives first contact with the enemy.

We have met the enemy.

The platonic nature of the internet, ideas and information flows, is debased by its physical origins. Its foundations are fiber optic cable lines stretching across the ocean floors, satellites spinning above our heads, computer servers housed in buildings in cities from New York to Nairobi. Like the soldier who slew Archimedes with a mere sword, so too could an armed militia take control of the peak development of Western civilization, our platonic realm.


What a beautiful piece of writing.

Today, I don't feel like a loon howling in the desolation. Thanks, Julian.

And thank you, Hefficide, for posting this where everyone can see it. I hope that the impact is increased by your most recent threads and that this thread travels long and far.






posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 01:12 PM
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On Encryption...I read his intent a bit differently. I don't think he's referring to our PC's and Laptops as much. That suggests a level of direct involvement by Government that makes encryption a rather moot point by then, like you say. It would seem to me that he's talking more about the overall net traffic and ability to just live without every click and time on a page being recorded to our home addy somewhere. Using proxy networks to use the net with is tedious, slow and a real pain all around......but it's encrypted and breaks the tracking links to build the all knowing system he's talking about forming around us.

I think he is also sincere and trying to help by warning people of what he's been uniquely positioned to see and understand. I don't think his motives are at all self serving because there is nothing to serve himself. Literally. If the U.S. ever gets physical hands on him, he'll never...ever...see free air again. Not in this life..and he knows it. What he's released would be enough but even the conservative estimates say Wikileaks only released fractions of it's total intake of material. He saw and knows much much more ..and what I think he'd be buried to insure always stays classified, as intended.

There is also that insurance file millions of people have. He has the solution and even the NSA can't crack the damn thing.
I'd say he's proven the worth of encryption by example. Like you say Heff.....that key all by itself could see him held to his death of natural causes. I take him at his word here...and I take his warning to heart. Just me.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by Hefficide
Personally, I don't use much encryption because I see it as a trap.


Because it is, and for an average individual, it is a great way to get unwanted attention.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


what most people forget,
it is in fact better for governments for their populations to encrypt all communications, at work as well as AT HOME.

without this encryption tech their would be no online shopping.
their would be no corporates with offices in different countries.

the idea that if the modern (2012) internet is "public" even in webmail or drop box ect,
then you require a "private space" (non public) to conduct personal affairs in.

why do people need privacy you ask?

i will answer with a question,
are the walls around your toilet made of glass?
because if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide do you?

but would you want the world to "watch" you go?

one point i want to make is "intellectual property"
if the net is public and you use it to send intellectual property,
that means EVERYONE can access your "property" without your consent.

say your are a designer, and you send your designs by webmail,
WITHOUT ENCRYPTION you have no privacy and your property can be stolen.

it is VERY important to realise that it is "ideas" that are worth ALOT of money
and without encryption your "ideas" can be plucked out of cyber space and stolen.

so encryption to me is an anti theft system that protects the most valuable commodity we have,
our Intellectual property, weather that is art, poetry, designs, hardware or even our musings of the universe.

most advertisers would try to convince your your meta data is worthless,
and encryption is not needed, while at the same time hovering up as much data as possible about you.
to sell to third parties with no obligation to you.

in my generation of net users, we were taught,
NO PERSONAL INFORMATION should ever be used on the net.

EVER

it was for saftey

not because YOU wanted to do bad things,
but because others would, if you did not protect yourself

without encryption you value your intellectual property at zero, and advertisers can collect it and sell it, at about 3-5 dollars a user a month,

the thing to remember is that EVERYONE has intellectual property,
and therefore a reason to protect THAT VALUE,
your ideas thoughts feelings and designs.

because intellectual property is yours. NOT because you have anything to hide.

star nd flag heff

xploder



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by ausername

Originally posted by Hefficide
Personally, I don't use much encryption because I see it as a trap.


Because it is, and for an average individual, it is a great way to get unwanted attention.


its ALSO a great way of preventing identity theift,
its ALSO a great way of protecting proprietary information
its ALSO a great way of protecting transactions
its ALSO a great way of protecting from hackers
its ALSO a great way of protecting from trackers
its ALSO agreat way of ensuring WHO you are connected to\

im guessing you work for an advertising company?

the "if your doing nothing wrong, then you dont require encryption"

shows a deep misunderstanding of the nature of the issiues that are SOLVED with encryption,

and the reason it is included in ALL browsers.

wake up

xploder



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER

wake up


I am!

It isn't the inherent vulnerabilities with data that you should be so concerned with, it is the assumption that you can protect it completely that is a threat.

You can only have the illusion of protection, security and privacy.

Invite them in!

If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by ausername
 



If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.


let me correct that for you,
if you have nothing of value, you have nothing to protect, and therefore dont need encryption
if thats the case why is your user data SOLD for 3-5 dollars a month?
and if it was YOU putting a value on this data WHAT would YOU value it at?

privacy is the RIGHT to own your own ideas and designs and intellectual property.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FEAR IS LOSS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

am i "allowed" to have "intellectual property" ?

companies use encryption, is their intellectual property worth "more" than mine?
is their right to use encryption, GREATER than a person?

am i a second class citizen? who has less rights to "value" their intellectual property than a company?

are you saying companies have more rights to privacy than "individuals"?

xploder



edit on 1-12-2012 by XPLodER because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by XPLodER
 


No one has any rights online, especially with data.

It is a commodity now. Also an exploitable industry worth hundreds of BILLIONS annually.

You have the right to purchase online security and protection and to use encryption as you wish. It is foolish to assume that you ever really have privacy with data and any form of electronic communications through the internet.

That said, I am sure I can find you someone that for a fee can assure you that they can provide you with all of the security and privacy you'll ever need and will protect your identity, backup your data and important files, and protect your intellectual property.


On the internet, there is another sucker coerced at least every second.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by ausername
reply to post by XPLodER
 


No one has any rights online, especially with data.


INCORRECT,
companies are allowed to encrypt corporate networks across the internet, interception of this data is a crime, and is prosecutable under the law.


It is a commodity now. Also an exploitable industry worth hundreds of BILLIONS annually.

spoken like a advertising "fan boy"
i am NOT a commodity and neither is my intellectual property, unless i decide to sell it,
YOU THINK ITS AUTOMATICALLY YOUR TO SELL


You have the right to purchase online security and protection and to use encryption as you wish. It is foolish to assume that you ever really have privacy with data and any form of electronic communications through the internet.

so if im a company there is nothing wrong in using encryption,
but i must "accept" that as an individual "it is not necessary"?






That said, I am sure I can find you someone that for a fee can assure you that they can provide you with all of the security and privacy you'll ever need and will protect your identity, backup your data and important files, and protect your intellectual property.


there would be no need if basic encryption tech was part of the base infrastructure of the internet.
everyone encrypts at the "transport layer"
ie it is a net standard


On the internet, there is another sucker coerced at least every second.



you would be a sucker to believe that you have nothing of value to be "stolen" and therfore should do nothing to "value" and "protect" intellectual property.

its common sense, would you leave your wallet open in public?

xploder



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by XPLodER

you would be a sucker to believe that you have nothing of value to be "stolen" and therfore should do nothing to "value" and "protect" intellectual property.

its common sense, would you leave your wallet open in public?

xploder


You can do whatever you want, by all means available to you. Just don't assume that you're protected. And if you do, then well, enjoy oblivion while it lasts.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by ausername

Originally posted by XPLodER

you would be a sucker to believe that you have nothing of value to be "stolen" and therfore should do nothing to "value" and "protect" intellectual property.

its common sense, would you leave your wallet open in public?

xploder


You can do whatever you want, by all means available to you. Just don't assume that you're protected. And if you do, then well, enjoy oblivion while it lasts.


you give me a false choice,
where i either give up and let everyone "sell" my intellectual property as a commodity,
or are destroyed by taking the "intelligent" choice to protect my intellectual property.

these are both false and misleading ideas from you.

if EVERYBODY encrypts and values their intellectual property,
then NOBODY stands out as a target,
and EVERYBODY is safer as a result.

the only losers are the trackers and hackers who EXPLOIT people and tell them their property "has no value" while selling peoples property for profit

you sound like a tracking or advertising company employee

xploder



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by XPLodER
 


I've been to and through the other side. If I actually believed that there was a way to have absolute security, privacy and anonymity I would support it 100%.

I cannot honestly support ignorance.

That said, I wish you luck and good fortune.



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 09:55 PM
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The idea that the universe favors encryption is accurate if you ask me, and I'd never thought to state it like this.

I'd neglected Assange in my various research up until the other day when I saw him on CNN, now for a few days I've been nearly obsessed with him and Wikileaks.

I can't shake the skepticism that Wikileaks may somehow be fraudulent, some type of disinfo operation being controlled by the same powers it claims to expose...and many others have made this claim.

No conclusion for me, as yet.

No matter what we think about the messenger, the message is highly important and relevant. There is definite evidence to support the claim that the government possesses the capability to intercept and store all communications. This power will only increase.

People have to pay attention to the potential the internet provides for abuse...

I'd like to think that promoting awareness on this completely legitimizes Assange, but let's face it: a growing awareness of surveillance will result in fear from 99% of the population. The vast majority do not have the skills to combat it, and will be left losing their sense of empowerment. Fear seems to be the favored reaction to elitist manipulative policy.

Encryption should be able to keep up with advancements in spy capabilities. What I worry about, though, is that those who get into the business of encryption will ultimately be in business with those who seek to intercept. In the cypherpunk discussion on Assange's RT show, on of the guys made a great point that privacy protection stands to be a growing business going forward.


At some point, the next major step in information tech may (probably will) come in the form of a sophisticated quantum computer. It is said that such a machine would be able to analyze data fast enough to break pretty much any encryption key through brute force.

It should also, however, create opportunities to develop dynamic encryption programs that change while they are trying to be broken...sort of countering the decryption by pinpointing the strategy being used and staying one step ahead.

And so the game will be played...



posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 11:31 PM
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Originally posted by ausername
reply to post by XPLodER
 


I've been to and through the other side. If I actually believed that there was a way to have absolute security, privacy and anonymity I would support it 100%.

I cannot honestly support ignorance.

That said, I wish you luck and good fortune.


i do not think uncrackable encryption is the way to go, or even achievable in the short term
ubiquitous encryption would be good enough,

most people have no idea how to protect themselves,
you cant expect every user to be a security engineer,

so a web standard is in order

xploder



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I'd agree a bit of both. But it is impossible to deny his personal courage. The man has taken risks for nobles causes. Where there is this kind of risk taking there is truth. Impossible to deny.



posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 05:53 PM
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reply to post by XPLodER
 





most people have no idea how to protect themselves, you cant expect every user to be a security engineer, so a web standard is in order


The way the internet works there is always going to be a threat model where relayed packets can be intercepted.
We don't know who might be descrambling information that is encrypted without enough random padding.

You could distribute hardware dongle devices with large secure initial keys and a random number generator to produce the necessary padding for a robust cipher but you could only sync with the server agent sending the dongle unless you had another secure channel.

Logistically it would be a difficult to keep large dynamic session key files in sync for many users on a commercial system unless it was really necessary.

I'm not sure how smart it is to tag your most sensitive information possibly telling some would be interceptor not only that the information is important but also labeling the scrambling algorithm?

edit on 2-12-2012 by Slichter because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:53 PM
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I've got a great idea for encryption. How about if every letter in the alphabet was replaced by a symbol?

A would be *, b would be / and so forth, and each person could determine what letter is replaced by which symbol?

Thoughts?



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:57 PM
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reply to post by Avgudar
 


Substitution or replacement ciphers are common and a computer program can break them in seconds. In fact a hobbyist could do so quickly as well. There are patterns to language and certain letters and letter combinations which are used more frequently than others. Having an eye for them means one can break a substitution code with ease.

Complex codes, based upon phonetic patterns are a bit more complex.

Ultimately the most effective encryption is key based algorithmic encryption. This type of encryption is very difficult to crack ( theoretically a long enough key would make it mathematically impossible to crack I suppose ) - and is the safest form of encryption.

~Heff





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