You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Jeffrey Goldberg at Agilebits, who make 1Password, has a great primer on why law enforcement back doors are bad for security architecture. The entire article is worth a read, presents a solid yet easily understood technical discussion — but I think it really can be distilled down to this:

From blog.agilebits.com:

Just because something would be useful for law enforcement doesn’t mean that they should have it. There is no doubt that law enforcement would be able to catch more criminals if they weren’t bound by various rules. If they could search any place or anybody any time they wished (instead of being bound by various rules about when they can), they would clearly be able to solve and prevent more crimes. That is just one of many examples of where we deny to law enforcement tools that would obviously be useful to them.

Quite simply, non-tyrannical societies don’t give every power to law enforcement that law enforcement would find useful. Instead we make choices based on a whole complex array of factors. Obviously the value of some power is one factor that plays a role in such a decision, and so it is important to hear from law enforcement about what they would find useful. But that isn’t where the conversation ends, it is where it begins.

Whenever that conversation does takes place, it is essential that all the participants understand the nature of the technology: There are some things that we simply can’t do without deeply undermining the security of the systems that we all rely on to keep us safe.

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Right Hand Drive (Timelapse)

Having never driven on the left, I was actually surprised about how quickly I adapted as well as the things that ultimately tripped me up, roughly in ascending order of frequency:

  • Shifting with my left hand was pretty easy…didn’t have any problems with this.
  • Remembering to keep on the left required some mental concentration, but I only tried to drive on the right side once in the two weeks I was in the UK.
  • There were several times I almost got into the car on the left side.
  • Probably at least once a day I could be found trying to grasp at an imaginary seat belt over left shoulder. It was, of course, over my right shoulder.
  • Constantly expecting the rearview mirror to be in my upper right field-of-vision when it was in my upper-left. This took the entire two weeks to really get ironed out.
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A Calvinist arrives at the gates of heaven…

He sees that there are two lines going in. One has a sign that reads “predestined,” and the other, “free will”. He naturally heads to the predestined line.
While waiting, an angel comes and asks him “Why are you in this line?”
He replies, “Because I chose it.”
The angel looks surprised, “Well, if you ‘chose’ it, then you should be in the free will line.”
So our Calvinist, now slightly miffed, obediently wanders over to the free will line.
Again, after a few minutes, another angel asks him, “Why are you in this line?”
He sullenly replies, “Someone made me come here.”

via /u/Agrona on reddit

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