[ExI] The NSA's new data center

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Tue Apr 3 23:14:22 UTC 2012

On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 12:52 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 01, 2012 at 04:55:53PM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:
>> Yes, it is an arms race. But, like the war on drugs, is it a fight
> So far, the situation wouldn't even exist if people would pick up
> the arms and munitions laying on the very ground before them.

I have to admit that you've got me thinking. I've begun looking at
Tor, bitcoin and even learned about Silk Road... all very interesting

>> worth fighting? Yes, drugs are bad. Yes, loss of privacy is bad. But
> I think you must be on drugs in order to equate the war on (some)
> drugs with the desire to protect one's privacy and the right to
> be anonymous in some transactions. Like the fucking vote, you know.

I am not on drugs. However, the war on some (most, including
prescription) drugs and the war on some privacy are pretty similar in
some important ways. Selectivity for one thing. People have the choice
to give up their privacy voluntarily. I do so every time I post to
this list, for example. People have a choice to take drugs illegally,
but they will go to jail if they are caught. Both are choices. Both
are kinda dumb to do voluntarily.

>> is fighting against it worth the cost? Will it still be perceived as
> *Which cost*? The cost of your freedom?

I like freedom. I like privacy. I just don't feel like in the big bad
world full of big bad things that it's anywhere near the top of my
priority list. I'll probably still be saying that when they haul me
off to the big house.

>> worth the cost by the next generation? Those are the interesting
>> questions.
> Yes, these are extremely interesting questions. And especially,
> the people who hold them. Very interesting. In the clinical sense.

I find it strange that people will give away all their secrets on
youtube and facebook, I really do. But the next generation seems to
have less shame (which may be a good thing in some ways) and care very
little about privacy in many cases. With these trends, I can't see
privacy being held together for us old timers...

>> When we are no longer the most intelligent and important species on
>> the planet, our privacy will not be any more important than that of a
>> gorilla in the zoo. The privacy of the new big dogs will likely still
> Do you really want to be that gorilla? I mean, right now?

No, certainly not. But what I want, and what WILL happen... aren't
necessarily the same thing are they?

> You're certainly
> awfully accepting of being locked up in a panopticon. I hear lots of
> municipalities run for-profit prisons. As in forced inmate labor.
> It would be very easy to get in there, just get rid of your privacy.
> The average US American commits some 3 felonies a day.

Of that I'm certain. The issue there, however, is too many stupid
laws. There isn't enough educational bandwidth to know what the law
is, so how can you keep it? It's ridiculous.

>> be important.
>> Any technology for encryption only slows the other side down. When you
> No offense, but you seem to have little clue about cryptography, especially
> the economics of it.

I took a class in college. We did all the math. I passed. It was a
long time ago... but I think the principles are essentially constant.

>> encrypt something, you aren't hiding it forever, just until the
>> technology exists to decrypt it. And it always will. So think of it
> So why don't they just store the entire Internet traffic, you think?

Did you not read the article? That's essentially what they are going
to do. And anything protected by Tor, they'll keep twice as long, just
in case. Safer for nondescript activity to go about in clear text,
like this email.

>> like they rate safes. Some safes are rated for 5 minutes, others for
> Try 15-20 years. In case of one-time pads, infinity.

One time pads are unusual, and unbreakable. Most commercial grade
encryption can be broken in a couple of months with a room full of
PCs. The NSA has FAR more at their disposal than that.

>> ten hours, big ones at the bank for a few days. Nothing can stop you
>> when you are determined, only slow you down. So if you have something
>> you want kept secret forever, then you had better not put it into
>> electronic form, talk over the phone about it, or anything. Just keep
> So why do politicians use crypto phones, you think?

So that they won't be found out until they are out of office.

>> it to yourself. Always. Consistently. But this is not the normal way
>> we think of things.

Look, I like privacy. I like being drug free. I just don't like the
inefficiencies of HIPPA and other super stupid laws that keep me and
my doctor away from my own damn information. I don't like the
government snooping on it's own citizens... As a computer scientist,
I'm constantly confounded by how difficult it is to get reasonable
data that would keep me from wasting people's time. If I knew you were
a lesbian, I could cease marketing certain irritating things to you...
When there is no privacy, SOME things actually do get nicer. It is a
tradeoff. One that I make in the direction of privacy today, but one
that I expect the zeitgeist will sweep away over the next 100 years.
It will be like living in a small town where everyone knows about
everyone... We'll go back to that way, which is the way humans have
been for most of our history. Probably time to get back to normal a
bit more.


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