January 12, 2015 by Pete
David Cameron Wants to Keep Us Secure by Making Laws Against Secure Encryption. I Disagree
I was a Math Major in college. My professor in Modern Algebra was a former NSA employee (even back then in 2009 he told us the government could listen in on any cell phone conversation). One day he taught us public-key encryption with pencil and paper and group isomorphisms.
The question he asked was this:
Suppose you are in this class room and want to send a message to a class mate. The only way you can communicate is by talking out loud across the room. Everyone can hear everything you are saying. You do not have any way of conveying any privileged information prior to your conversation. How would you do it?
He then proceeded to show us how.
I was fascinated that in our class of about 20 students, two classmates could convey messages entirely out loud in the open air (no privileged prior communication) with no one else being able to decipher the message. Our secrets were safely conveyed across the room based on math and cryptography and calculated with a pencil and paper.
In our business we use Virtru for encryption every day. In fact we have to, it is the law. (Read Massachusetts 201 CMR 17). Yet Cameron isn’t alone. Many in law enforcement in the US agree and want Apple and others to allow encrypted communication to be intercepted by the government.
A government that thinks it can ban math and skirt even its own laws is indicative of a government which is too strong and too large an ego. Without diving into the details of public key encryption, let me suggest this. Why doesn’t the government invest more into breaking encryption through superior math than in trying to legislate it out of existence. The only way the government can destroy encryption is when the public cannot do math. When 2+2=5.