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Old 13th March 2008, 12:04   #16
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I tend to think of the right to privacy as a fundamental right. I don't want some pervert listening in to my conversations and mails. Would you like it if a the govt put a camera in your bedroom. After all its the authorities, right? Where do you draw the line?
Without a warrant from a court, no authority, not even the president of the country should have any right to listen to the conversation or peep in to the private lives of citizens.
This is not some Nazi state, its a country claiming to be democratic.
Armed with a court order and a warrant, certain wings of the government CAN and WILL listen in to your phone calls. It is called "Lawful Interception". Every communications service provider (Landline phone, Mobile GSM or CDMA or WLL, ISP) has to mandatorily have equipment that will facilitate lawful interception. This is a mandatory requirement which is built into the license terms for communications service providers.

Look up "Lawful Interception" or "Legal Intercept" on Wikipedia.

Obviously you need to have done something seriously wrong to warrant such an action here in India. I believe this is no longer the case in the US of A, that Land of Liberty, where they dont really need a reason to evesdrop anymore. They only need to "feel" that you are a possible threat to National Security.

By the way - I understand that most of your American vendors of Personal Firewall software also have to provide backdoors to government agencies there that will allow them to 'enter' your computer even if you're firewalled to glory. So much for personal security.

Last edited by Steeroid : 13th March 2008 at 12:08.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:05   #17
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It is now a fact of life that governments can no more pry into the messages that people send. The state-of-the-art is that encryption algorithms are now that secure!

And you donít even have to go to Research-in-Motion.
The block cipher: Anubis is freely available for free public use. Still it has not been cracked by anybody on this planet. Another block cipher called Grand Cru has a chain of 4 subciphers with independent keys. Even if 3 of the keys are known, the remaining cipher would still be secure.

Methinks, the days of governments reading private messages are over, particularly with the very high quality of encryption techniques which are freely available (open source).
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:08   #18
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Privacy is also an issue in the UK these days, mainly due to the terrorism threat.

Tanveer, i dont think one can do much about it. It brings me back to the topic of frisking which is performed at airports, and even theatres like PVR. One doesnt like it, but in the greater interest of safety, have no other option.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:11   #19
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It is now a fact of life that governments can no more pry into the messages that people send. The state-of-the-art is that encryption algorithms are now that secure!

And you don’t even have to go to Research-in-Motion.
The block cipher: Anubis is freely available for free public use. Still it has not been cracked by anybody on this planet. Another block cipher called Grand Cru has a chain of 4 subciphers with independent keys. Even if 3 of the keys are known, the remaining cipher would still be secure.

Methinks, the days of governments reading private messages are over, particularly with the very high quality of encryption techniques which are freely available (open source).
Ram, you have NO idea what Big Brother is capable of. Nobody is secure anymore. Assuming that a piece of freeware is going to protect our privacy is like living in Trishanku's Heaven.

Last edited by Steeroid : 13th March 2008 at 12:13.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:17   #20
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Ram, you have NO idea what Big Brother is capable of. Nobody is secure anymore. Assuming that a piece of freeware is going to protect our privacy is like living in Trishanku's Heaven.
True. And even if NSA cracks most of these "so called" unbreakable security, they are ever going to publish and boast about it. So you will never know. And I must admit that they seems to be "reasonably" successful in preventing further attacks by terrorists so far. Even though it cannot be established if its because of better security or because Osama&Co decided otherwise.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:20   #21
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Ram, you have NO idea what Big Brother is capable of. Nobody is secure anymore. Assuming that a piece of freeware is going to protect our privacy is like living in Trishanku's Heaven.
Its a balance. You want to be secure personally. But what about threats from others ? You have to break the security of bad guys to secure the good guys.

Yes, the best cryptologists, mathematicians work for the government. But sadly the U.S government.

Last edited by srishiva : 13th March 2008 at 12:21.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:30   #22
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Privacy is also an issue in the UK these days, mainly due to the terrorism threat.

Tanveer, i dont think one can do much about it. It brings me back to the topic of frisking which is performed at airports, and even theatres like PVR. One doesnt like it, but in the greater interest of safety, have no other option.
there are two issues here
1. The right of law enforcement to spy on messages armed with an order from the Judiciary
2. The right of law enforcement to spy on people on whim of any police official.

the first one is never a problem. If a court has given such a warrant, you have done something seriously wrong.
but the latter is a problem. you are giving the right to the Police force to act as judge and jury. This is what defines a police state.
A Law enforcement officer may be entagled with you in a legal battle over property, and since in his mind he things you owning that property is threat to national security, if he can arrest you and put you in jail without any judicial process, it means a police state.

Private message spying is similar. If you think a person with malicious intentions cannot get around, you are sadly mistaken. This is the day of the internet, the day of TOR networks, where even big brother, NSA or any of the largest agencies cannot do anything about encryption.

Mathematically 1024 but encryption is secure, and though they saw quantum computing will take care of it, before the key comes the lock, and you will have quantum encryption.

As for frisking in malls, I often go with my wife, where I am patted(very inefficiently) and my wife just walks through. How difficult is it for a terrorist to get a female to get a bomb into a mall.

PVR security is better but they screen you at the entrance where hundreds of people are present. If somebody wanted a mayhem, frisking won't stop that person. However intelligence will.

In Delhi couple of years ago there were serial blasts in crowded markets. What will the police do. Frisk millions of people?

The problem is that the govt tries to create an illusion that the laws it passes will make you safer. But I can simple state many such laws here which will make life of honest people difficult, but a person with malicious intentions will go through

1. ID proof and address proof for prepaid connections
Recently many people found themselves disconnected because of negligence of end dealers. I myself have given address proof thrice for connection. But if you want to cheat the system, go to a notary, pay 150rs and you have a rent agreement in judicial stamp paper.
2. Eves dropping in sensitive areas
Sure, a policeman can listen to private conversations and satisfy voyeuristic needs, but a "terrorist" will simple send a fax. Or just use a server bought for $2 a month in a safe haven and use that to leave and retrieve messages over 1024 bit encryption.


It is very important that the govt does not get any such rights, unless armed by a warrant from judiciary. Judiciary keeps the legislature in check.
Where does it stop. tomorrow, they will want the right to arrest anybody without a court warrant if they think the person is suspicious.

Yes it is happening. But just because something is happening now does not make it right.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:33   #23
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And instead of sitting and talking things over - they go and gladly announce that they want to stop Blackberry services. Real amazing people.
Kicking a company in the ----- is what gets them to the negotiating table.

Remember how RComm got Qualcomm CEO to india, and his pre/post meeting chastened faces?
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:49   #24
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Dont bash me up but let me ask the most stupid question in this thread.

Whats so special about blackberry services, compared to other service through 3G, EDGE, GPRS?
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:52   #25
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...

By the way - I understand that most of your American vendors of Personal Firewall software also have to provide backdoors to government agencies there that will allow them to 'enter' your computer even if you're firewalled to glory. So much for personal security.
Just like TSA locks for your baggage Yeah and they also decided that rest of the world dont need high security by banning security product makers in US from exporting anything with more than 128bit encryption.
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Old 13th March 2008, 13:00   #26
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Dont bash me up but let me ask the most stupid question in this thread.

Whats so special about blackberry services, compared to other service through 3G, EDGE, GPRS?
Custom encryption and a very high level of compression to reduce the size of data packets.

Other email services use standard encryption and regular compression + they are client-based or if you're using Microsoft ActiveSync then its based in the Exchange Server within the client's data centre.

I think the encryption thing is not the real issue. The real issue is the fact that all these emails go all the way to RIM's US-based servers to get pushed onto the blackberry device in your hand.

So if most of your top govt officials, CEOs of various companies, captains of industry and others use the service then another government has full visibility of communications to and from these people. Makes it very easy to figure out whether something is happening, doesnt it?
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Old 13th March 2008, 13:51   #27
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Ram, you have NO idea what Big Brother is capable of. Nobody is secure anymore. Assuming that a piece of freeware is going to protect our privacy is like living in Trishanku's Heaven.
Steer, I know what I'm talking about.

On Big Brother
Cryptologists know that Big Brother is not as big on encryption/decryption as he wished he was. And Big Brother knows it too. It's just too embarrassing for him to admit it. And the planet's top electronic intelligence gathering agencies and law enforcement agencies are not American.

Despite zillions of dollars poured into snoop-tech, episodes of Big Brother getting caught unawares, when security mattered the most, only increase.

Cryptography and civil rights are deeply embroiled in controversial legal issues. Open access to high quality cryptography is a vexatious issue for most advanced governments.

China, Mongolia, Singapore and Taiwan are painfully aware of how the most easily available algorithms are so unbreakable. So they have laws that ban the use of cryptography.

USA bans the export of cryptographic software and hardware products. The same laws apply as apply to bombs, missiles, warheads, and mines.

The problem is recognized as spiralling out of control of governments, due to the ubiquitous availability of fast PCs that capable of running sophisticated software and virtually unlimited Internet nodes.

In 1996, 40 countries (Western Europe, UK and Ireland, Southern Europe, the Eastern Bloc, USA and Canada and Argentina, Australia, NZealand, Japan and Korea) signed the Wassenaar Arrangement(@Waasenaar 8 km NE of Den Haag). This is a treaty for control of arms and cryptography.

Although laws are in force, actual enforcement is impossible

On Freeware
And free is "free as in free beer". That open-source is given away on source-forge for free just belies the hundreds of man-years of research that continually goes into perfecting it.
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Old 13th March 2008, 14:06   #28
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@steer: Dont think that all the Blackberry mails go to the RIM servers hosted in US. As I know most of the corporates have their own Black Berry servers which sync up with the internal mail servers that they use.

Regards
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Old 13th March 2008, 14:08   #29
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Agree with you RAM. Contrary to what Hollywood claims, the big brother is not that omnipotent, esp when it comes to encryption.
The power of open source is not really monetary, but its more about control.
Today we have access to such powerful algorithms which can withstand brute force attacks for thousands of years by the most powerful supercomputers.
If you read the book by Kevin Mitnick "The Art of Deception" The Art of Deception - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, wou would realize that the biggest "hacking" coups have been due to "Social engineering" and not technical brute force.
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Old 13th March 2008, 14:25   #30
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@steer: Dont think that all the Blackberry mails go to the RIM servers hosted in US. As I know most of the corporates have their own Black Berry servers which sync up with the internal mail servers that they use.
Then why is the ban restricted to Blackberrys? I can access my company email using Activesync on my phone. AFAIK, it uses SSL to encrypt the mails sent/recieved from the Exchange server. Perhaps, RIM devices use a propritary encryption technology thats much stronger.

Even then, the mails that eventually go to the outside world (i.e those not addressed to someone inside the company) will not be encrypted at all. So if the RIM servers are located in India, the govt can intercept the mails going out or in at some point. And Govt has no business intercepting internal mails floating with the corporates that uses RIM devices.
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