With All Due Respect, Fuck Off

So the Attorney General thinks we should allow Gummint access to our private lives, does he?

U.S. attorney general William Barr has said consumers should accept the risks that encryption backdoors pose to their personal cybersecurity to ensure law enforcement can access encrypted communications.
In a speech Tuesday in New York, the U.S. attorney general parroted much of the same rhetoric from his predecessors and other senior staff at the Justice Department, calling on tech companies to do more to assist federal authorities to gain access to devices with a lawful order.In remarks, Barr said the “significance of the risk should be assessed based on its practical effect on consumer cybersecurity, as well as its relation to the net risks that offering the product poses for society.”
He suggested that the “residual risk of vulnerability resulting from incorporating a lawful access mechanism is materially greater than those already in the unmodified product.”
“Some argue that, to achieve at best a slight incremental improvement in security, it is worth imposing a massive cost on society in the form of degraded safety,” he said.
The risk, he said, was acceptable because “we are talking about consumer products and services such as messaging, smart phones, e-mail, and voice and data applications,” and “not talking about protecting the nation’s nuclear launch codes.”

Really?  That little speech probably sounded better in the original Chinese.

Then there’s the tu quoque  argument:

The U.S. is far from alone in calling on tech companies to give law enforcement access.
Earlier this year U.K. authorities proposed a new backdoor mechanism, the so-called “ghost protocol,” which would give law enforcement access to encrypted communications as though they were part of a private conversation.

As though we should emulate the British — who, lest we forget already  has governmental powers which allow them to preemptively ban anything to be published which they don’t like.  (It’s called a “D notice”, FYI.)

Here’s my take.  But first, a reminder:

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Considering how the “security services” have already violated this Constitutional precept against one person they didn’t care for (FISA?  Russian collusion, anyone?), why should we trust that these fucking spies won’t abuse this power against anyone else?

OF course, the fucking feds will no doubt blackmail the tech companies into doing their foul work for them:

Barr did not rule out pushing legislation to force tech companies to build backdoors.

I’ll bet he didn’t.   And Barr, lest we forget, is supposed to one of the good guys?  Can you imagine giving this power to a Justice Department, CIA, NSA DHS or any of the other little Stasi acronyms, under a future Democratic Socialist administration?

We might as well live in Communist China or 1970s East Germany.  Which is doubtless exactly where these pricks, all of them, would like us to be.  All for our own security, of course.

FOAD, all of you.

That’s my First Amendment right coming into play.  You don’t want me invoking the Second, you motherfuckers.  There’s another wholly different meaning to “going dark”.


  1. Why do you think they don’t already have the capacity. The Constitution certainly isn’t going to stop them.

    1. They don’t, as there isn’t enough computing power on the entire planet to brute force modern, strong encryption methods in a timely manner. That’s why they want backdoors and have for the last decade or so in which not only has said strong encryption become commonplace and simple for the average joe, but implemented in really creative methods on hardware.

      The time (and hence expense) of coming up with ever more clever attacks with a goal of decrypting Joe Sixpack’s data has been increasing for years, thanks largely to companies like Apple pushing personal data security as a marketing advantage. The powers that be do not like that, and would very much like to bring that expense to basically zero.

      1. It doesn’t take computing power to bribe, suborn, trick, or blackmail someone in the chain of production for the encryption software.

        Put not your faith in technical fixes.

        1. No, but it would be quite a feat to bribe, suborn, trick or blackmail several thousand people at the same company to go along with such a scheme, which is what you’d need to do to compromise anything of use. It would be another to keep tens of thousands in various reverse engineering circles from finding out such a compromise occurred.

          The concept that one bad apple is able to inject some sooper-sekret payload into production software and have it go undetected at the level it would be useful in this context (e.g. Apple, Google, et al) is pure fiction.

    2. they already have the capacity. every modern cpu since 2005-2008 ish has a back door monitor mode built in.

  2. One thing (and only one thing) that the evil* LBJ said that was good and not harmful was, “Don’t imagine this law being used by our friends, imagine it being used by our enemies.”
    Our elected servants rulers seem to forget that, if it really is forgetting.

    * LBJ wasn’t just evil professionally, he was evil in his private life, too. We’d know more about all that if he hadn’t been a member of the protected party. Not just evil, FRACTALLY evil, to use a phrase from Tam

  3. Two overlapping concerns:
    1) Having such a back-door in the hands of the government means they WILL use it in an un-Constitutional manner. It’s no different than insisting the police, from local cops up thru the feds, have copies of your door keys and garage-door codes.

    2) The existence of such a back-door means it WILL get into the hands of criminals. Perhaps at the hands of the government officials in item one, because I’m not stupid enough to believe that no one in government with access to the back door would sell it for the right price.

    A few years ago my former doctor insisted that all his patients subscribe to a service (at our expense) to store our medical information, allow us to message with him regarding lab results, etc. It was “only” $5 or so a month ($60 a year IIRC). He assured me that it was “completely secure”. I told him that, as a person who’d worked with computers for over 30 years, that NO system was completely secure. This was around the time that rNas, a company whose PRODUCT was computer security, got hacked. So my response to him mirrored the title of Kim’s post, and I found a new doctor. Strongly worded statement to follow.

    Mark D

  4. Since we all know that members of congress, the president and certain individuals (e.g. the Clintons) will be exempted from this, I’d say hard pass. Screw Bob Barr. Law enforcement and securing evidence used to convict citizens needs to be difficult to obtain. If my encryption on my devices give them consternation, good. Funny how the people whose lives we should be looking at most closely are never the target of such unconstitutional power grabs.

    It is amazing just how technologically illiterate statements like this really are. A backdoor for law enforcement is a backdoor for every script kiddie and low life cyberpunk wannabe whose seen Hackers a few too many times…not to mention the legions of so-called hacktivists out there wrapping themselves up in self-righteousness while breaking the law.

  5. Playing devil’s advocate here, but the 4th speaks about UNREASONABLE search and seizure. what if the government decides that seizing all your private property and data is not at all unreasonable and the courts agree with it…

    1. In Law School we learned about “Weasel Words”. “Reasonable” is the Weasle-iest.

  6. A ‘backdoor’ is a door, just like the door on your vessel or vehicle.

    Can you imagine a government agent just a few points short of the next promotion? With unlimited access to contraband? And your ‘door’ is open? And, somehow, contraband ends up in your possession?

    Now, can you imagine the front-page headlines of TheMainStreamMeadia as they print the press-release? Convicting you on televisionprogramming?

    And lastly, can you imagine the government agents are psychopaths, incapable of truth? Justice? The American way?

    Wait. Does ‘backdoor’ refer to a sexual activity?

  7. Barr is right on so many things that are on his desk presently; but on this, he’s completely screwed up.
    I give him a “D Notice”:
    D for DORK!

  8. Where I come from, “With All Due Respect” means not only that no respect is due, but it is because you’re a F***in’ Idiot. Don’t say those four words to a judge. I was in the audience once and saw that. It was not a pretty sight. The martial arts student who grazed his sensei in the original “Mechanic” came out better.

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