Encryption that’s impossible to detect—not government naivety, just government mendacity—why RIPA will be a success for the government, but not for the people!
Encryption that’s impossible to detect
Well, as is so often the case in life the guilty will go scot-free. Why? Well, there exist various methods of encrypting data in such a way that no forensic expert will ever be able to determine that the data is encrypted in the first place. Such software is readily available on the Internet, much of it for free. There are at least several million ordinary individuals worldwide who have downloaded and who make use of such software. Your teenage son may well have some installed on his PC. Now if ordinary individuals have access to such software, then you can be sure that organised groups of criminals and terrorists will also have access to it, and, indeed, will have access to even more sophisticated versions.
The availability of such software makes the government’s proposal to force individuals to hand over their encryption keys nothing less than a farce. Anyone who has anything worthwhile to hide will never be asked for his encryption keys since the encrypted files he possesses will never be found by forensic analysis. So the only effect of this legislation will be that some Granny from Greenwich with a touch of Alzheimer’s will get two years in prison because she’s forgotten her password to www.theknittingcircle.com.
The Hidden Purpose
Now it’s not credible to believe that Blair’s government doesn’t know that the proposed legislation will be totally ineffective. Her Majesty's Secret Service will have briefed government ministers on the capabilities of information hiding techniques such as “steganography” and “hidden volumes”. But, as with the case of the Iraq war and the “dodgy dossier”, Blair only wants to hear what he can sell. Fortunately for him, with the aid of a few carefully selected experts of dubious provenance, it is easy to fool the public in general, and parliamentary committees in particular, regarding the need for, and the likely success of, the proposed legislation.
The Success Story
Should RIPA Part 3 come into effect we will doubtless hear of trumped up success stories. Some foolish 16 year old in Bradford will write something incendiary about Blair on his Windows PC using the EFS encryption provided as standard on Windows NTFS filesystem volumes. He’ll be asked to hand over his password. And then some dim-witted chief constable will proclaim that RIPA is a success story. And he will be correct in his assessment. It will have been a success story because the media, blinded by science, will in reporting such stories help to convince a sceptical public that Blair’s government is actually protecting them from terrorists.