5 Essential Privacy Tools for the Next Crypto War
The first crypto war revolved around the hardware-based Clipper Chip and coercing companies to deploy broken encryption with backdoors to enable domestic State spying. Fortunately, the good guys won.
The next crypto war is still a war of the government against its own citizens but this time enlisting the corporations, including social networks, as direct agents of the State. What some have dubbed Crypto Wars 2.0 manifests itself in the current litany of legislative acronyms designed to confuse and befuddle.
Sometimes I think legislative bills are named with a Twitter hashtag in mind. Although it doesn’t always work out favorably for the name deciders, hashtags do generally assist in the coalescing of Internet organizers around the world. Since passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act by the U.S. House of Representatives in April, #CISPA has been everywhere. Thankfully, twin legislative initiatives SOPA and PIPA were dropped in January. Also, let’s not forget the gradual expansion of CALEA and the Lieberman-Collins Cyber Security Act and the NSA-centric McCain Cybersecurity Act.
Even the seemingly unpatriotic USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 is a garbled backronym that would make George Orwell proud: Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently posted an FAQ arguing that CISPA would allow companies to review and then to hand over customers’ personal information, logs, and email to the government. That is a fairly broad and comprehensive mandate.