The dilemma—why you should hand over your encryption keys—why you can still keep your secrets safe—a British Big Brother with no sense of fair play—our campaign against RIPA.
Between Scylla and Charybdis
Well, Herr W.S. Blooer, you have a problem. Big Brother is breaking down your door. Now he’s just found those encrypted files on your computer. Now he’s offering you a choice: (1) hand over your encryption keys, or (2) go to prison, be tortured, be executed, or be forced to listen to a lecture by Billy-Boy—none of which was on your to-do list for today!
Do it with a Smile
Well, of course, it’s best not to get into this situation in the first place. But, if you do, then you should…then you should hand over your encryption keys with a smile, for you have nothing to hide! Why? Here’s why. Now Big Brother has decrypted your files. Now he’s marching through your digital jungle along a well-trodden trail to a clearing where he finds…where he finds “everything that you wanted him to find”, whilst remaining blissful unaware that behind an impenetrable thicket of digital trunks lies another clearing, one that contains “everything that you didn’t want him to find”.
The reason we’ve decided to blog on this topic today is that we’ve received a request from a friend in the UK asking for advice. Now there’s nothing we like better than a good reason for a good rant. However, good rants generate lots of words, so we’ve decided to break our “rantations” into sections, most of which you can wisely skip!
Whilst this issue affects everyone, our focus is on the legislation currently being enacted in the UK. So, for those of you who think of the UK in terms of red telephone boxes and little old ladies pedalling their bicycles on their way to evensong we have some introductory polemic under the heading “Butcher Blair and Bubba Brown”. Next come sections detailing the legislation itself, “Crime and Punishment”; its affect upon the innocent majority, “Punish the Innocent”; and its affect upon the terrorist minority, “Exonerate the Guilty”. Finally, and this is the only really important part: what you can do to prevent this Big Brother style of legislation from being enacted, “‘No Keys’ Campaign”.
“No Keys” Campaign
Our “‘No Keys’ Campaign” provides details on how to download spoiling software that makes any “hand over your keys” legislation inoperable. The software can be used to encrypt your data in such a way that it appears indistinguishable from pseudo-random data, making it impossible for forensic analysis to determine that there is any encrypted material present on your computer.
If enough people in the UK were to follow our campaign instructions then the ensuing publicity would be sufficient to halt the proposed legislation. However, following the campaign instructions is even more important for people living in countries where such legislation has not yet been considered: the effort required to prevent anti-libertarian pressure groups from successfully promoting such legislation is very much less than that required to halt pending legislation that is well on its way to becoming law.